Nobody managed to measure up to Ole Christian Veiby at the third round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. The Norwegian youngster were superb in Malaysia and defended his overall championship lead.
The 21-year-old Norwegian has really taken Asia by storm. After losing his chances of winning the opening round in New Zealand due to technical problems, he had to settle for second place. Ole Christian and his co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen got their revenge with a victory in Australia and this weekend the Skoda Motorsport driver followed it up by taking another win in Malaysia.
“This is the most difficult rally I have ever done, especially Sunday’s stages were a big challenge. There was a lot of rain and the roads became extremely slippery. Almost shockingly slippery. We went off the road at one point and later on we had to reverse in a junction because it was so slippery. Eventually we learned to read the surface and then it went a lot better” said Ole.
His toughest competitor, his team-mate Gaurav Gill, was two points behind him in the overall standings ahead of this weekend’s event. The experienced Indian, who won the championship in 2013 and finished second last year, was eager to take back the lead that he lost at the previous rally. But already on the first stage, he made a mistake and lost over six minutes after an unpleasant encounter with a tree stump.
“After that, we focused on getting flawless rally and finish the event in the best way possible. We managed to do that and it feels fantastic to win in Malaysia” said Ole.
When Ole Christian Veiby signed his contract with Skoda Motorsport, the plan for him was to help Skoda secure the team championship in the Asian rally championship. Many expected Gaurav Gill to be the leading driver of the team, but after three events, it is the Norwegian that has secured the overall lead as two rounds – in Japan and India – remains in the championship.
“I have to say that I’ve done well. Everything has more or less gone according to plan. Even though it looks great in the overall classification, I’m not taking anything for granted. I need to finish the two last rallies in a good way” said Ole.
Top 3 Malaysian Rally 2017 – APRC
1. Ole Christian Veiby, Norway, Skoda Fabia R5 3.02.39,1
2. Gaurav Gill, India, Skoda Fabia R5 +4.41,7
3. Jari Ketomaa, Finland, Mitsubishi Mirage +5.00,4