Norwegian businessman, Erik Veiby, has been very active this decade in the World Rally Championship on two fronts.
Firstly for managing the drivers Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway), Pontus Tidemand (Sweden) and the Finn Esapekka Lappi, and also for the rally driving activities of his son, Ole Christian Veiby, nicknamed “Baby Veiby”.
We asked Erik why his son, OCV, who had been strongly contending the WRC, was not entered in Rally Deutschland, even though this was one of the three SWRC “compulsory” events.
Erik Veiby: When he got the opportunity to do the FIA Asia Pacific Championship with Skoda this year, that was our main objective. We are doing WRC2 rallies to learn, but as a championship Asia Pacific is his main objective.
Last Sunday he was in Malaysia, so it would have been too tough to come straight here. He wouldn't have been in a good condition to start recce on Tuesday morning.
This is such a difficult rally so you need to be 100% in shape. This is why we are not doing it. He did the event last year with Citroen, so he has been here two times before, so he will be back in Spain in October.
MH How are things going at Skoda? Are they beginning to formulate a long term relationship, and what he will do in the future?
EV: I don't think I am the right man to ask about that, but we have discussions about the future for both Pontus and my son, so we have to see. I think we will know something within the next month or so.
MH We can see two drivers, Tidemand and Sunninen, who are developing their careers through WRC2. What is your assessment of the value of WRC2?
EV: I think WRC2 last year, and also this year, is very competitive. I like the format. I don't like the three compulsory rallies rule, I think they should do like the junior championship where you have to do six or seven compulsory, so you you have to meet your competitors all the time.
But I think WRC2 with the drivers who have been there now, just look at Lappi who came through there, Suninen, Pontus as well. It is a good championship. About Skoda’s and M-Sport’s cars I don't think there is a big difference in the cars.
MH And your future business? Are you planning to work with new drivers?
EV: No specific plan. We have four other drivers and one rallycross driver. At the moment it is enough. We have enough work, there is a lot of work around Andreas for instance, which we need a place for, and Pontus as well, so at the moment we are quite full.
MH: And which driver has given you your greatest satisfaction, Ole Christian I suppose?
EV: No, I have to say the biggest moment for me this year was Lappi's win in Finland. That was so emotional.
“I was really happy about my son winning WRC2 in Poland, but Lappi's win in Finland was so out of what we ever could have expected, so that is the biggest so far.
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