Ole Christian Veiby kept his head cool and his right foot warm when he secured third place in the European Rallycross Championship after a frantic thriller. “This has been one of the most nerve wracking experiences I’ve ever had. Going into this season I set a goal – to take home a medal in the championship – and it is a fantastic feeling to reach that goal. But I also have to say that I feel a bit empty right now. This has really taken its toll” said a relieved and very happy Ole Christian Veiby.
Although Ole is just 19 years old and is doing his first full season in the Euro RX, he still showed great maturity and experience when he took the third place in the championship. It was no easy task he had in front of him this weekend at the last Euro RX round of the season, which took place in Italy. But the youngster was offensive and strongly believed that he could catch Joni-Pekka Rajala, who was seven points ahead of Ole in the overall standings. Even though the Finn had a good grip of third place, Ole refused to believe that it was not possible to beat him.
“I knew it would be tough, but at the same time I knew that it was not impossible. But that it would be this exciting, that was almost unbearable” said the motorsport talent with a big smile.
It was indeed a dramatic journey towards the European Championship trophy. In the third qualifying round, the drive shaft broke and he had to do the heat with only rear wheel drive of his Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar with about 600 horsepower under the hood. Fortunately, the mechanics did a great job and fixed the car before the last qualifying heat and Ole did his part of the job by making it to the semi-finals. He was in the first of the two semis, finished second and was thereby qualified for the final. Rajala was in the second semi-final and if he made it to the final, Ole’s chances of scoring a trophy would most likely be over. It was an extremely thrilling semi and eventually the Finn finished fourth and had to watch the final from the bleachers.
“I had high pulse when I followed Rajala in his semi-final. When it was clear that he did not qualify for the final, I knew that my chances of finishing in the overall top three were good” said Ole.
Now it was all in his own hands. The task was as simple as it was difficult: he has to finish third or better in order to secure the trophy.
“It was certainly not easy. I had a good start and was second, but the muddy conditions on the track made the visibility very bad. When the windscreen wiper suddenly stopped working in the middle of the final, I just had to let go to be able to see anything at all. That made me drop to third place. Then it was all about trying to stay in control” said Ole, who had Swedish Peter Hedström chasing him from behind.
“I feel that I had control over the situation, but at the same time, the track surface was very rough and many got punctures because of it. That is why it was so great to cross the finish line as car number three” said Ole, who has fought hard for this podium. He admits that he feared that his top three chances were ruined after the Norwegian round.
“After zero points and engine failure on home soil I was very low. But I decided to reset myself and just look ahead to what was to come. When I won the last round in Spain, I felt hopeful again. And success tastes so very good” said Ole, who wants to thank the people around him:
“I’m lucky to be a part of a highly professional team and I would like to thank Volkswagen Team Sweden and KMS Motorsport, who has run the car. They play a huge role in taking this championship trophy” he said.
Tommy Rustad, also from Norway, became European Rallycross Champion and Frenchman Jérôme Grosset-Janin took the second place in the championship.