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Tue 04 Oct 2022

Veiby: KMS guys ‘best in the world’

Ole Christian Veiby has paid tribute to his Kristoffersson Motorsport team after making it four podium finishes from the opening five rounds of the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship last time out in Portugal – explaining, quite simply, that ‘giving up is not for us’.

Ole Christian Veiby has paid tribute to his Kristoffersson Motorsport team after making it four podium finishes from the opening five rounds of the 2022 FIA World Rallycross Championship last time out in Portugal – explaining, quite simply, that ‘giving up is not for us’.

Veiby has been a leading contender since marking his return to the international pinnacle of the dual-surface discipline this season – following more than six years away in rallying – and is increasingly giving four-time world champion stablemate Johan Kristoffersson a run for his money.

After reaching the rostrum on home soil in Hell and then replicating that result on day two in Rīga, the Norwegian doubled up at Montalegre – although his appearance on Saturday’s podium was improbable to say the least.

Having posted the second-quickest time in the morning SuperPole session on his first visit to the challenging Vila Real circuit, Veiby followed Kristoffersson to the chequered flag in heat one – only to hit the wall immediately afterwards due to a puncture he had picked up in the joker on the last lap.

The damage to his Volkswagen RX1e ruled the 26-year-old out of heat two and the progression race while his car was checked over and fixed, but with a new lease of life for the semi-final, he converted fifth on the grid into a win, and in the all-important final, he kept the Hansen brothers at bay throughout to secure the runner-up spoils – his finest finish in World RX to-date.

“That was certainly an up-and-down day,” he candidly acknowledged. “It started off really well; we had decent pace in free practice and heat one was good – at least up until the finish line! The KMS crew then did an amazing job to repair my car. These guys are the best in the world at what they do – it’s a pleasure to work with every single one of them and huge thanks to them all.

“They worked so fast that the car was ready in time for heat two, but we were told, ‘sorry, but no chance you can go further’ so I even went to get changed. Luckily, they let us go in the end and I got a new chance in the semi-final and could give it everything I had.

“I had a great launch and could pass the others on the outside, and then in the final, we had good speed again but I knew it was going to be tight at the joker merge with Timmy [Hansen]. You can’t see it so well when you’re on-track, so I just had to rely on my spotter and hope it would be ok. Thankfully, it was.

“I was really happy and quite emotional to finish second; I honestly didn’t think that would be possible after heat one, and I owe the result to a fantastic team effort – giving up is not for us!”

The next day, Veiby pushed Kristoffersson even harder in SuperPole but thereafter struggled to reproduce that form until the semi-final stage, when he made a bright start from the outside of the grid to chase his team-mate to the flag.

The Kongsvinger native then found himself pushed wide in Turn One in the final – prompting him to dart immediately into the joker. A strong turn-of-speed enabled him to recover to third, which subsequently became second when Kristoffersson was penalised for contact. The points also elevated him to the same position in the title table ahead of Benelux World RX of Spa-Francorchamps this coming weekend (8-9 October).

“I loved Montalegre,” Veiby reflected. “The track was really fun with its big kerbs, and it seemed to suit me pretty well with my rallying background. I think second place was the best I could achieve on the Sunday; they watered the circuit more than the previous day and we struggled, so we have to work on that, and then we had a tricky start to the final. In fact, we barely made it to the final at all due to another issue with the car, so I was really pleased to finish on the podium again.

“We arrived in Portugal sitting first and fourth in the championship and left sitting first and second, while increasing our lead in the teams’ standings, which was great. Next we have another double-header, which means two more chances to get on the podium and maybe climb even higher than last time. I feel I’ve taken big steps forward so far and am getting closer and closer to Johan. The pressure is easing and the self-confidence rising. Soon, we’ll be there...”