Ole Christian Veiby feels an extra bit of excitement ahead of his debut as a Skoda Motorsport works driver. The 20-year-old is in New Zealand for the first round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.
As Norway’s only works driver in rally, the youngster from the city of Kongsvinger is excited for his Skoda Motorsport debut. Together with co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen, Ole Christian Veiby will help the car manufacturer to win the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).
“I have some extra butterflies in my stomach ahead of the debut and I honestly don’t know what to expect. I don’t know any of my competitors and it’s difficult to say how fast they are. That’s why it will be exciting to see what level they are on” he said.
After good performances, including a third place at the Swedish WRC 2 round, Ole got a unique opportunity from Skoda. Even though he is excited about what awaits him on the other side of the globe, he has got a lot to offer at the six events in the APRC.
“I am confident after my results this winter and I know I have a good pace. But it’s not easy to prepare for a rally I know so little about” he said ahead of Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand. The event includes 16 stages and starts with two spectator stages on Friday. To be as well prepared as possible, he has consulted with Pontus Tidemand, his Even Management team-mate who won the APRC in 2015.
“I have talked to Pontus and he has told me that it is a great event and that the roads are fast and fun to drive” said Ole.
Another challenge is that they will use another tyre brand than what they are used to in the WRC.
“I have driven on Michelin tyres for as long as I can remember – and that are the tyres I know. Now, however, we will run on MRF tyres and I have no idea what they are like, how they react when they get worn out and what is the optiman tyre pressure. So it’s not only the event itself that is new to me” he said with a smile.
In the championship, Ole will form a two-car team with Gaurav Gill from India and the Norwegian’s role is primarily to ensure that Skoda Motorsport wins the team championship. But that does not mean that he will hold back in his debut.
“I will be disappointed if I’m not in the fight for the podium. But the most important thing is still to stay on the road and finish the rally” said Ole.