After having to give up his co-driver to Andreas Mikkelsen, Ole Christian Veiby has been working hard to find the right one to fill the co-driver’s seat. Now he has made up his mind – his previous co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen is the man for the job.
“I was very happy when Stig Rune signaled that he is motivated and wants to fully focus on co-driving. This is a solution I know will work and it gives me peace of mind” says Ole Christian Veiby.
The 19-year-old Norwegian accidentally became a victim of the team changes among the best co-drivers in Norway and Sweden. It all started when Jonas Andersson chose to leave Mads Østberg in favor of Pontus Tidemand. This led to Østberg making a deal with Andreas Mikkelsen’s co-driver Ola Fløene. With that, Norway’s leading rally driver was suddenly in need of a new companion in the right seat. His choice fell on Anders Jæger, who has helped Ole Christian Veiby score second place in the JWRC this season. Pontus Tidemand and Andreas Mikkelsen are, just like Ole, part of EVEN Management.
“A lot happened in the co-driving area before Christmas, it was a pure domino effect. I knew I had limited time with Anders Jæger as my co-driver. The idea was that he would stay with me during 2016 before switching to Andreas in time for the 2017 season. Even though it happened a year early, we were not in a completely hopeless position. We had already begun to think about what to do in 2017. But suddenly we had to rush it a bit more than we expected” explains Ole.
The idea of trying something completely new, perhaps an English speaking co-driver, was considered, but got rejected. They came back to the original plan of having a Norwegian co-driver, preferably someone who did not live too far from Ole’s home town so that the two of them could work closely together when preparing for an event. 29-year-old Stig Rune Skjærmoen fulfilled all the criterias and he was also the first co-driver Ole had when he started his career so they already know each other well.
“Stig Rune has taught me so much. My career began with him next to me. Together we built a pacenote system, which Anders (Jæger) and I have developed even further over the past year. Stig Rune is fit for fight and motivated for the job we have ahead of us. I find it very reassuring to start the season with something familiar and I look forward to continue with a co-driver I know I have a great teamwork with” says Ole, who will participate in the Junior WRC during 2016 as well.
Stig Rune is also looking forward to resume his cooperation with Ole and to start the season.
“I could not let this opportunity pass me by. It will be really fun and very challenging. We have worked well together previously and Ole has taken big steps forward this past season. Rallying is my passion and I’m ready to give a 100 percent for us to reach our goals” says Stig Rune, who due to illness filled in for Anders Jæger during the Portuguese WRC round in May this year.
“That gave me a taste of what awaits me. To participate in the JWRC will be incredibly exciting. There are many adventures to come this year, along with tons of experience” he says.