Norwegian rally talent Ole Christian Veiby feels the excitement rising only a few days before his WRC home event kicks off. “If we nail this, the podium is within reach” he said ahead of Rally Sweden.
Although Sweden is hosting this year’s second WRC round, the rally is still like home soil to the Norwegian drivers. Four of Friday’s stages takes place in Norway and for Ole Christian Veiby, the Hof-Finnskog stage is extra special.
“Parts of the stage is a section that I’ve previously used as a test road. It’s actually where I dove a rally car for the first time” said the 20-year-old, who literally will be driving at home as the stage crosses the forest that his family owns.
“I don’t think that will give me any advantage since it’s been a few years since I drove on that road. But it makes it special” he pointed out.
This is the third time that Ole competes in Sweden. Last year he made his WRC debut with a four wheel drive car and finished sixth in the WRC 2 class. Together with co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen he will be behind the wheel of the same car as last year, a Skoda Fabia R5. They are well prepared and delivered WRC pace when they took second place at Rally Finnskog last weekend. In addition to that, they had two good test days during the past weekend.
“Rally Finnskog gave me a proper dose of confidence. To be quicker than Mads Østberg on some stages showed that we have a good pace and have taken big steps forward since last year. The two test days were also very useful for our preparation. At Rally Finnskog, we used more narrow tyres compared to what we use in the WRC and it actually took some time to get used to it at the test. The tyres provide slightly less grip and we have to adjust the car accordingly. But now we’re ready and I really look forward to get started” said Ole.
At this point, he has no goal regarding where on the leaderboard he wants to finish, but no one should be surprised if he sets some strong times in the WRC 2 class.
“My focus is on having an overall good event and to be clever in my driving. It’s obviously important to get to the finish and a great result comes from a successful drive. A podium finish would be amazing, and if we nail this, it’s definitely within reach” said Ole.
Thousands of Norwegians travel to the WRC round in Sweden every year and this time, the service location has moved from Hagfors to the airport in Torsby – even closer to the Norwegian border.
“That will certainly not make the interest in Norway any smaller. Just seeing so many Norwegian flags along the stages is something that motivates you to go even faster. It’s incredibly fun to reach the finish of a stage where there’s been many Norwegian fans” he said.
Rally Sweden starts with a spectator stage on the Karlstad racecourse on Thursday evening before it all kicks off for real on Friday – where four stages run in Norway.