Ole Christian Veiby aimed to set some good stage times when he got the opportunity to compete in the WRC 2 class at Rally Spain. And the 20-year-old did not disappoint anyone as he made his mark by showing great pace.
The young Norwegian has prioritized the Junior World Rally Championship this year, but when he was offered to finish the season in a Skoda Fabia R5 in the WRC 2 category, he could not turn it down.
“To go from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive with far more engine power is obviously a big step. That is why I had no ambitions to fight in the top at Rally Spain. The target was simply to find the rhythm and eventually deliver some good stage times” said Ole, who after crossing the finish line could say ‘mission completed’. On one of Friday’s gravel stages, he set a second fastest time, right behind Pontus Tidemand, Ole’s Swedish EVEN Management team-mate. Tidemand is perhaps the best driver in the WRC 2 so it was really a feather in the cap for young Veiby to deliver such a strong time.
“Unfortunately we had to retire on Friday when a small concrete wall broke the a-arm in a short right hand corner. It was disappointing, but we still got experience from the gravel stages” said Ole, who got the car fixed in time for the asphalt stages on the two last competitive days.
This was the first time that he drove the R5 car on asphalt roads, so he gradually adjusted in order to really get into it before pushing a little more.
“We set a few top three times, which I’m happy about considering the level of my competitors. All in all, I’m very pleased with the weekend, apart from the incident on Friday. After all, this was the first time we drove this car on gravel and asphalt” said Ole.
It was here in Spain that he made his WRC debut two years ago and he sees Rally Spain as one of his favorite events:
“Especially the asphalt stages are fun to drive. It is almost like circuit racing with smooth and wide asphalt roads.”
This weekend’s WRC round was a good rehearsal for Ole and his co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen since the two of them will compete at Wales Rally GB in two weeks.
“It will probably be a bit easier to get back in the car after this. We will have the same goal as we had in Spain and if we can set some good stage times, we will be happy with that. I’m very grateful that we got this opportunity to finish the season in the WRC 2 class” said Ole.
Results Rally Spain WRC 2
1. J. Kopecky, The Czech Republic 3:22:08.7
2. P. Tidemand, Sweden +15.3
3. F. Turan, Hungary +14:54.1
4. J. Van Den Heuvel, Netherlands +25:02.6
5. T. Suninen, Finland +29:09.0
6. O. C. Veiby, Norway +30:25.7
7. M. Aasen, Norway +34:32.9
8. S. Pärn, Estonia +38:57.7
9. J. Suarez, Spain +42:22.3
10. R. Triviño, Mexico +50:22.1