Ole Christian Veiby impressed in his Rally Finland debut. The 19-year-old scored third place and that also moved him up to third overall in the Junior WRC standings.
The young Norwegian had a big smile on his face when he reached the finish at Rally Finland. This was his first time participating in what is often described as the most difficult WRC round – and when he finished the event in third place in the JWRC category, he could not be anything but delighted.
“This has been very challenging and a really tough event. It is a great advantage to have experience from Rally Finland and already be familiar with the stages. My goal was to finish on the podium, which is what we did and it is a fantastic feeling” said Ole Christian Veiby, who praised his co-driver Anders Jæger for the job he did this weekend.
One of the things that makes Rally Finland so difficult is the high speed and the massive amount of jumps.
“To find the right line and speed towards the jumps mean everything. There are several crews that simply jump straight into the woods because they fall short when they approach those big crests” he explained.
With a third place in the JWRC, the Norwegians climbed to third place also in the overall Junior WRC standings. In WRC 3 they are now in second place.
The rally talent does not deny the fact that he felt a bit of tension ahead of this event.
“I must be honest and say that I did feel the pressure after going off in the previous WRC round in Portugal and then did the same in the European Championship round in Estonia. I had that in the back of my mind and it was important for my confidence to fight back with a result like this” he said.
If it is possible to drive in a controlled way in Finland, that is what Ole did.
“We remained calm throughout the rally and felt like we stayed in the middle of the road without taking those giant risks. There were however a few stages where we found the right pace and then it almost felt like the car drove itself. On those stages, we also drove as fast as the Frenchman Quentin Gilbert, who won the class and is in the lead of the JWRC. That shows that we have the pace” said Ole.
Even though they drove safely without taking the biggest chances, they still had a real ‘heart-in-the-mouth’ experience on the penultimate stage.
“We came over a jump and were flat out in sixth gear. I guess we went about 160 km/h when we landed slightly wrong, slid sideways and spun in the middle of the road. Luckily it went well, but my heart skipped a beat. It would have been really sad if we had gone off when all we had to do was to finish the rally” he said.
It was a dramatic duel for the win in the JWRC. Only 0.5 seconds separated Quentin Gilbert and the Fin Henri Haapamaki after 20 special stages, while Ole Christian Veiby as mentioned ended up in third place.