Drama followed the finish of the Spanish round of the European Rallycross Championship. Ole Christian Veiby was eventually declared the winner after Tommy Rustad got disqualified.
“A victory is always a victory, but to be honest, this is not the way I want to win. I was car number two over the finish line, but rules are rules and that means I got the victory after all” said Ole Christian Veiby.
What happened was that the data showed that Tommy Rustad had activated the launch button during the race, something that the drivers are only allowed to do at start.
“I believe that Tommy [Rustad] accidentally touched the button when using the hand brake and not deliberately pressed it to cheat” said an honest Ole.
The disqualification of Rustad, gives 19-year-old Ole Christian Veiby his first Euro RX win in the fourth and penultimate round of the championship. That also means that the young Norwegian, who drives a VW Polo RX Supercar for Volkswagen Team Sweden, is back in the fight for a medal in the European Championship. He feared that all hope was lost after having to retire with engine failure during the previous round in Norway.
“The event in Spain was a ‘make it or break it’ in terms of the chances to get a medal in the Euro RX this season. I’m so happy that I managed to strike back with a victory at this point. To perform this well when I really needed it to stay in the game, that is something I will take with me to the last round” stated Ole.
This was his first victory in a Euro RX round and he can not deny that he craves more. Although this was his first season in the championship, the goal has all along been to pick up a medal by the end of the year. And now he has got a fair chance to finish among the top three.
“It is going to be a real rat race in Italy on 17-18 October. I will do absolutely everything in my power to bring home a medal. After Tommy’s disqualification, the outcome is way more open than I dared to hope for” he said.
Even though he has just took his first Euro RX win, Ole is self-critical. He admits that he struggled a bit in the first heats on the Formula 1 track in Barcelona.
“I did not set very good times and it went a little up and down during the four qualifying heats. But everything came into place in the finals and I’m very pleased with my driving” explained Ole.
The semi-final offered an exciting duel with Frenchman Jérôme Grosset-Janin, who is second in the overall Euro standings. But Ole won that duel and got to start the final from first row. He was on his toes and got a great start, it even looked like he was about to take control of the race when he made a small mistake. That was enough for the experienced Rustad to pass him and take the win – at least that is what everyone thought until a check-up of the data log in his car showed that the launch button had been pressed.
“The semi-final and the final were the highlight of my weekend. That is when I showed what I can do. To be beaten by a driver like Tommy Rustad was not something I cried over as he drove rallycross already when I was in a baby carriage. I was initially happy with second place, not to mention being back in the medal fight. It was important that I beat Rajala and reduced the gap between us in the overall standings. It is definitely possible to catch seven points. I will certainly give everything and make him work hard if he wants to keep me behind. That I was left with the win this weekend turns the ending of the season into a real thriller” said Ole Christian Veiby with a smile.