Won in Finland: “My most difficult winter rally ever”
Ole Christian Veiby took a sensational victory in the Finnish Rally Championship and the 19-year-old admits that he has never before driven in such demanding conditions.
The youngster from Norway managed to fulfill his goal and get the victory that he ambitiously aimed for at this weekend’s Tahko Rally. But reaching the podium at his second event in the Finnish championship turned out to be a big challenge.
“I really have to say that this has been the most difficult rally that I’ve even driven on snow. Not that I’ve done that many snow events, but it will be long until I get to do a winter rally this demanding” says Veiby, who got to spray champagne and rejoice his first victory in the Finnish championship in his second attempt.
He finished second at the last event in Finland two weeks ago. Both then and now, he was behind the wheel of a Skoda Fabia R5, owned by EVEN Management and run by the Finnish team Printsport, who also runs Veiby’s car in the Junior WRC.
There was a lot of snow and perfect winter conditions when Tahko Ralli kicked off, but during the event, the unexpectedly mild weather made the snow softer and more slippery and it was difficult to get a good grip. Additionally, the four-wheel-drive cars started further back in the field at this rally, which meant more lines on the road and even more challenging roads for Veiby and his competitors.
“The rear wheels was all over the place, but the most important was to make the front wheels stay in the lines and dare to use the snow banks. But it was almost worse than aquaplaning to drive outside of the lines and there was a great danger of getting caught in the snow” says the 19-year-old, who is the youngest out of the five drivers that are signed to EVEN Management.
And it was the difficult conditions that would put a stop to Veiby’s competitors Jarkko Nikara and Juha Salo. Salo went off already on the first stage and lost several minutes and left the main battle to Nikara and Veiby. But when Veiby’s second competitor went off the road on the penultimate stage, the Norwegian could secure his first victory by making it through the very last stage.
“In rallying it’s about avoiding mistakes to reach the finish. We’ve had our fair share of scares today as well, I have to say” says Veiby, who was accompanied by Stig Rune Skjærmoen in the co-driver’s seat.
This turned out to be an event filled with new and valuable experience for Veiby, even though the conditions was not what he had expected. Just staying on the road and try to master the slippery and demanding surface was more than enough at the same time as the roads offered challenges of classic Finnish character with high speed and long jumps.
New for Ole Christian Veiby this year is that he is now signed to Norway’s official Junior Team Norway, which is Norway’s national motorsport team.
“It’s a team of all the best drivers in Norway from most motorsport disciplines and I believe we can learn a lot from each other” says Ole Christian Veiby.