From the moment he first drove the Volkswagen RX1e, Ole Christian Veiby says he knew Kristoffersson Motorsport was onto a winner with its new electric beast and that the car would ‘suit him well’, as he looks back upon a successful return to the FIA World Rallycross Championship in 2022.
Veiby has always been highly-rated within the sport, and having been competing for so long, it is sometimes easy to forget that he is still only 26 – but prior to this year, he had not raced a rallycross car since 2015.
That might have made him a bit of an unknown quantity heading into the season curtain-raiser on home soil in Hell, but the Kongsvinger native immediately answered any lingering questions with a maiden rostrum finish on his series comeback.
“I was confident I would be able to fight for podiums, but at the same time, I was aware most of the other guys had been racing in rallycross for a long time and knew all the smart tricks for the starts and joker strategies and so on, whereas I’d been away for almost seven years and many of the circuits were new to me,” Veiby candidly reflected.
“That said, there was a lot that was new to everybody this year, as nobody had any prior experience of running an electric rallycross car. I felt right from the outset that the Volkswagen would suit me well, and it was super cool to make my World RX return in front of a big crowd in Hell – even if it’s not a track that I knew particularly well. To end the weekend on the podium alongside Johan [Kristoffersson] was even better.”
He followed that strong start with three further rostrum appearances from the next four rounds as he soared to second in the Drivers’ standings behind team-mate and close friend Kristoffersson. A breakthrough win seemed to be a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’, but then a run of ill-fortune dented his chances, as repeated reliability gremlins struck the Norwegian’s side of the KMS garage and caused him to drop to fourth in the final table.
“We had some struggles with the car and a few battery issues that set us back and cost us a lot of points,” Veiby acknowledged. “Our aim had obviously been to hold onto the top two spots in the championship, but through no fault of our own, things didn’t work out that way. That was disappointing, but it was out of our control.
“Overall, though, I really enjoyed the season. After years of going into events knowing I didn’t really have the equipment to get the job done, it was fantastic to finally have such a competitive car underneath me – I’d been waiting for that for a long time.
“It wasn’t easy to develop the VW with no testing between race weekends, meaning we essentially had to do all our testing on-event but we made a lot of progress and improvements over the course of the year and every time we had a trouble-free run, we were really strong.
“It’s been a real pleasure to be a part of the first electric season of World Rallycross. Going from combustion to electric power has clearly been a big change, but it’s been a lot of fun. Next season, we want to defend our championship titles and back that up with the one-two in the Drivers’ standings that we missed out on this year. So for 2023, that’s definitely the goal – and personally, of course, I want to get my first win.”