Norwegian Ole Christian Veiby made a great start to his 2015 Junior World Rally Championship campaign as he took a podium finish at the challenging Rallye Monte-Carlo, becoming the first 18-year-old to finish the rally.
The opening stages on Thursday evening would see the young driver and his co-driver Anders Jaeger finish fifth in the snow and ice, Friday would see an improvement in pace as he took second fastest time in the opening test. A stage win was to come later on the Friday as he found his pace.
“This is totally raw. My life’s greatest moment” – Ole Christian Veiby
“We found a nice rhythm which we were comfortable with in the difficult conditions,” explained Veiby. “On SS6 we were the fastest car in the class, and it tasted obviously good to win my first special stage in JWRC.”
By the end of the second day the pair had worked their way up the standings to second in class with a gap of just over half a minute to third. It wouldn’t be plain sailing for all weekend though, on the third day they experienced a scary moment on SS10.
“We had a little nerve-wracking experience on SS10,” admitted Veiby. “We met a patch of black ice, and we had slick racing tyres on, so there was no grip whatsoever. I had to throw the car into the snow, but that managed to save me. After that episode, we took it a little quieter.”
The final day dawned and Veiby sat second in class with a gap just over ten seconds to third, while some drivers would do what they could to defend the position, the young driver took a much more sensible approach to the stages ahead.
“We were not so keen to defend second place, but rather we wanted to finish the rally. Could we do without a mishap, and reach the finish in Monaco in a good position.” he said.
A promising debut would end with a podium place, crossing the finish line third in class, with a two minute buffer to fourth place.
“To get on the podium on the Monte Carlo Rally can hardly be described,” added Veiby. “This was only my second Tarmac ever, and in competition with several asphalt experts, I am proud to be number three. Had someone said to me a few months ago that I would make it, I would not have believed it. But after the good recce here and a good run on the Jännerrallye in Austria a couple of weeks ago, I knew there were opportunities for a good finish if I kept it on the road. But I basically still cannot believe that I could fight among the top three.”
“It was a very special experience, and a rally that I can not compare with anything else I’ve driven, It was at times extremely slippery. I am very pleased that I managed to keep my concentration up and my nerves under control. I did not let me stress of either the environment or that I fought for a place on the podium.”