With his fifth place at Rally Portugal, Ole Christian Veiby climbed up to second place in the overall Junior WRC standings. “I have never driven a rally where so much has happened along the way” said the young Norwegian.
After the strong third place in the opening round of the FIA Junior World Championship, Ole Christian Veiby was excited to see what Rally Portugal could bring.
“To put it simple, it was an interesting event. This round contained most things imaginable. To sum it up, I’m pleased that I was patient and drove sensibly. It was all about making it to the finish without incidents. But even if you try to take it easy, things can happen, and unfortunately that happened to me” he explained.
On Saturday’s last stage bad luck hit hard. Ole and co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen were in second place and focused on finishing the stage and completing the day in a good way. But in a right hand corner they hit a rock with front right and rolled the car two times before hitting a rock wall with the roof.
“We did not come too fast in the corner, but when the rear wheels sank into the tracks, the front wheels were dragged out of them. Hitting the rock was inevitable. We hit really hard and I hurt my right hand pretty bad. I was very dizzy when I got out of the car and could barely stand straight up” said Ole, who thought the rally was over for this time. But the mechanics decided that was not the case.
“I’m really impressed with the job that they did. They spent all night fixing the car and by the time I woke up, it was as good as new. I honestly never thought they would be able to accomplish that, the damages was huge” said the 18-year-old.
Although the car was fit for fight, Ole’s right hand was anything but good. It was really swollen and he was in a lot of pain – which obviously made Sunday’s final three stages much more difficult.
“I had one hand on the steering wheel and used the other one to change gear. It was not optimal, but we did the best we could and managed to finish the rally in fifth place.”
Scoring fifth place was enough to move up to second place overall in the Junior WRC standings after two championship rounds.
Ole will remember Rally Portugal as an event filled with drama. Especially Saturday is a day he will not forget anytime soon. In addition to his own roll, he also had to stop and wait for a competitor who was blocking the road after a roll.
“I was the first car after the incident and the car was in the middle of the road with the SOS sign up. The co-driver was lying on the ground outside the car and I immediately thought that he was dead. As it turned out, the co-driver had a heart attack after the roll. It was no pleasant experience at all” said Ole.
Luckily he has some really positive experiences to take with him home as well.
“To get to drive the final Fafe sprint was absolutely massive. There were so many spectators along the stage, especially at the last jump before the finish. It was just a sea of people, I’ve never seen anything like it” said Ole, who has busy days ahead of him when he gets back home to Norway.
“This upcoming week I have three exams. It begins with jurisprudence on Tuesday and I also have to try to find time to get an X-ray of my hand” he said.