Ahead of the event, Ole Christian Veiby stated that the WRC round in Poland is his favorite. He predicted that it would be a speed fest and the Norwegian definitely got into the atmosphere. The youngster, who turned 21 just 15 days ago, was the big surprise of the weekend when he and his co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen beat all competitors and secured their first win in the WRC2.
“I’m almost out of words. I was absolutely not expecting to come to Poland and beat Pontus (Tidemand). This is incredibly fun” he said with a big smile.
To put the performance in perspective, Rally Poland was just his seventh start in the WRC2 and the 22nd WRC event in his career. He had participated in Poland only once before; last year he finished third in the JWRC in a front-wheel drive car. That is something completely different than the four-wheel drive Skoda that he drives now.
After being third on the short opening stage on Thursday evening, Ole started his Friday by winning the first stage. He also took the overall lead. After that, Ole never looked back – even though he were in an exciting duel with Pontus Tidemand for a good while.
“It was really cool to have Pontus chasing me. We pushed each other all the way, but I managed to take a few tenths and seconds here and there until I slowly extended my lead. Suddenly I had an advantage of 17 seconds. Going into some stages I decided to take a chance and really push. We knew that we had to be at it to keep Pontus behind us. On some of the stages it was flat out. I’ve never driven that fast before” said a very pleased Ole Christian Veiby, who was afraid that a puncture would destroy his chances of winning.
“I feared that the victory would slip away from me when I got a rear right puncture on SS17. I pushed like crazy to not lose too much time. It was a really close call in a few left hand corners so maybe we were a bit lucky. I felt a little low when we reached the finish, but as it turned out, Pontus had also had a puncture on the same stage. He lost more time than we did and with a minute’s lead, we knew we had a good grip of the win” he explained.
After being fastest on half of the 18 first stages, it was all about maintaining the lead on today’s four stages.
“I think we managed to keep calm and focused. Even though we just needed to get to the finish, I can guarantee that it is not easy in those conditions. That’s why I didn’t take anything for granted until we crossed the finish line on the last stage. It was an indescribable feeling” he said.
Eventually it was 32 seconds down to Pontus Tidemand, who secured second place.
“The whole weekend has been a dream. The car has been working perfectly. We have barely made any adjustments and the pacenotes have been very good. All in all everything has been perfect” said Ole Christian.