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Mon 06 Feb 2023

Veiby warms up for ice-cold Rally Sweden with red-hot Rally Lima victory

Ole Christian Veiby wrapped up his Rally Sweden preparations in perfect fashion with a dominant performance on Rally Lima last weekend (4 February).

Ole Christian Veiby wrapped up his Rally Sweden preparations in perfect fashion with a dominant performance on Rally Lima last weekend (4 February).

Veiby has contested three rallies in recent weeks, building in intensity before he tackles Umeå-based Rally Sweden – round two of the 2023 FIA World Rally Championship – this coming weekend (9-12 February), where he will be engineered by Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS FIA World Rallycross Championship team-mate, Johan Kristoffersson.

Behind the wheel of his Kristoffersson Motorsport-prepared Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, the 26-year-old – co-driven by former WRC podium-finisher, Torstein Eriksen – knew Rally Lima would provide his sternest challenge to-date.

Not only did the roads represent uncharted territory, but as the opening round of the Swedish Rally Championship campaign, the event attracted a high-calibre crop of homegrown stars such as P-G Andersson, Fredrik Åhlin and Patrik Flodin. Despite being the sole ‘non-local’ in the field, Veiby immediately showed that he meant business.

Fastest on the first stage in the Dalas forests – ‘I think P-G was a bit surprised that we were ahead there’, the Norwegian notes – Veiby extended his advantage to more than 40 seconds by the end of stage two. Visibility issues caused by a fogged-up windscreen on SS3 hampered his charge slightly, but he fought back with a brace of further stage wins to ultimately wind up almost a minute clear of his closest rival.

“The competition is always fierce in a national championship,” the Kongsvinger native acknowledged. “I went there aiming to beat the Swedes, and while there were drivers on the entry list who don’t take part to finish second, nor do I!

“Everything went according to plan, and the collaboration with Torstein was flawless from the first metre. We had competed against each other many times before, but never sat in the same car. He is so experienced and has a steely eye for everything. Without him and the work of the whole team, this win would not have been possible, which just proves how vital it is to have good people around you.

“It was important to get a good final run before Rally Sweden, and some sections were very fast, which will be the case on some of the roads in Umeå as well. The stages were awesome and being first on the road, it was so much fun to dance through perfect winter conditions. It’s always nice to win – it gives you a good feeling for what is to come.”

Following his last ‘dress rehearsal’, Veiby is now fully focussed on a repeat of his 2019 WRC2 victory on Rally Sweden, which gets underway on Thursday evening.