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Dream victory for Veiby in WRC Poland
3 Jul 2017   by Team Release

Current APRC points leader Ole Christian Veiby exceeded his wildest expectations when he hit the jackpot and won the WRC2 class at Rally Poland. "This is incredibly huge. Now I'm proud" he said.

Ahead of the event, Ole Christian Veiby stated that the WRC round in Poland is his favorite. He predicted that it would be a speed fest and the Norwegian definitely got into the atmosphere. The youngster, who turned 21 just 15 days ago, was the big surprise of the weekend when he and his co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen beat all competitors and secured their first win in the WRC2.

"I'm almost out of words. I was absolutely not expecting to come to Poland and beat Pontus (Tidemand). This is incredibly fun" he said with a big smile. To put the performance in perspective, Rally Poland was just his seventh start in the WRC2 and the 22nd WRC event in his career. He had participated in Poland only once before; last year he finished third in the JWRC in a front-wheel drive car. That is something completely different than the four-wheel drive Skoda that he drives now.

"I am exceptionally proud. By winning a WRC2 event for the first time, I've hit a new milestone. The thought of that feels so good" he stated. After being third on the short opening stage on Thursday evening, Ole started his Friday by winning the first stage. He also took the overall lead. After that, Ole never looked back - even though he were in an exciting duel with Pontus Tidemand for a good while.

"It was really cool to have Pontus chasing me. We pushed each other all the way, but I managed to take a few tenths and seconds here and there until I slowly extended my lead. Suddenly I had an advantage of 17 seconds. Going into some stages I decided to take a chance and really push. We knew that we had to be at it to keep Pontus behind us. On some of the stages it was flat out. I've never driven that fast before" said a very pleased Ole Christian Veiby, who was afraid that a puncture would destroy his chances of winning.

"I feared that the victory would slip away from me when I got a rear right puncture on SS17. I pushed like crazy to not lose too much time. It was a really close call in a few left hand corners so maybe we were a bit lucky. I felt a little low when we reached the finish, but as it turned out, Pontus had also had a puncture on the same stage. He lost more time than we did and with a minute's lead, we knew we had a good grip of the win" he explained.

After being fastest on half of the 18 first stages, it was all about maintaining the lead on today's four stages. "I think we managed to keep calm and focused. Even though we just needed to get to the finish, I can guarantee that it is not easy in those conditions. That's why I didn't take anything for granted until we crossed the finish line on the last stage. It was an indescribable feeling" he said.

Eventually it was 32 seconds down to Pontus Tidemand, who secured second place. "The whole weekend has been a dream. The car has been working perfectly. We have barely made any adjustments and the pacenotes have been very good. All in all everything has been perfect" said Ole.

Ole Christian VEIBY - FACTS
Born: 17 June 1996
Team: Skoda Motorsport/ Even Management
Car: Skoda Fabia R5
Co-driver: Stig Rune Skjærmoen

First WRC start: Rally Spain 2014 Total WRC starts: 22 (including Rally Poland 2017)
2015: 2nd place JWRC
2016: Winner WRC3 Rallye Monte-Carlo, winner JWRC Rally Finland
2017: Asia-Pacific Rally Championship with Skoda Motorsport: 2nd in New Zealand, 1st in Australia, WRC2 winner at Rally Poland WRC 2017  

Rallye Monte-Carlo 19.01.– 22.01.2017 Did not participate
Rally Sweden 09.02.–12.02.2017 3rd place WRC2
Rally Mexico 09.03.–12.03.2017 Did not participate
Rallye de France - Corsica 06.04.–09.04.2017 5th place WRC2
Rally Argentina 27.04.–30.04.2017 Did not participate
Rally Portugal 18.05.–21.05.2017 Did not participate
Rally Italia - Sardegna 08.06.–11.06.2017 2nd place WRC2
Rally Poland 29.06.–02.07.2017 1st place WRC2
Rally Finland 27.07.–30.07.2017
Rallye Deutschland 17.08.–20.08.2017
Rally Spain 05.10.–08.10.2017
Wales Rally GB 26.10.–29.10.2017
Rally Australia 16.11.–19.11.2017

APRC China Rally cancelled for 2017 – Organisers seek solutions for 2018.
1 Jun 2017   by Championship Release

Problems with logistics and shipping have forced the organisers of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and the China Rally to cancel this year’s event in Zhangye, originally scheduled for 7-9 July.

A slight shift in the dates of the China Rally, had a huge effect on the shipping schedule for the APRC team shipping containers and increased the likelihood they would not make the next APRC event in Malaysia. Rather than put both events in jeopardy it was collectively decided to cancel China Rally this year and work on a solution for 2018.

APRC president Vicky Chandhok said “Much as we have all tried very hard to make it work, the logistical issues posed a very critical threat to not just the China Rally but the Malaysian round as well. Under the circumstances and given the timeframe we have recommended to the FIA that the 2017 round be cancelled and we all work together to ensure that the 2018 rally runs with adequate planning of logistics”.

Wan Heping, Vice President of Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of China reinforced the need to find solutions for the future. “All of us have made the best efforts to save the APRC China 2017 and we should not put any risk to the Malaysian round. I fully understand the difficulty on the shipping and now we should really look into what we can do for 2018”.

The event in Zhangye will run as a round of the China Rally Championship, while the 2017 APRC will now comprise 5 events New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Japan and India. The next event for the APRC is the Rally of Johor, Malaysia 11-13 August.

OC Veiby’s time to shine
28 May 2017   by Event Release

Team MRF has taken out the top two spots in the second round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, the Australian National Capital Rally, with Jari Ketomaa taking out third place and a stage win.

“Really nice win, of course yesterday was a little bit tight, but we showed some good speeds today. The stages suited us well today, we managed to take some good time on the others and the last two stages was just cruising in and securing it in,” Ole Christian Veiby said today.

This is Veiby’s second event in the Asia-Pacific Championships and first round win. Veiby was joined by team MRF teammate Gaurav Gill on the Canberra International Airport podium in second spot.

“Today it did rain quite a bit and a little slippery, the grip was constantly changing every few kilometres. It was good experience to see how the car and how the tyres are reacting. Lucky for us we had no dramas with the tyres just searching for the right setup. I’m happy with the weekend, learnt a lot and taking it to the next rally” Gaurav Gill said.

Jari Ketomaa was very happy with his third placing in his MPart Mistubishi AP4 Mirage. “We managed to do some fastest stage times today,the performance of the car and the tyres has been very good. “In the end I am disappointed, we could be fighting to win thisrally, we had some mistakes yesterday but that is what happens when you are pushing. “When everything goes clear we can definitely win these stages. When you get everyone around you doing the best you can then we will only go forward,” Ketomaa concluded.

Team-mate Blomberg was 4th, delayed by punctures and a broken suspension but happy with his experience of the Australian roads. Top Australian was Brad Markovic in his AutoOne Subaru Impreza, followed home in 6th by the father and daughter team of Andrew and Kirra Penny.

Next up was Indian driver PG Abhilash gradually getting more confidence in his ex-Cody Crocker Subaru Impreza. Peter Dunn was 8th just over a minute ahead of Japanese driver Fuyuhiko Takahashi in Ahresty Subaru. Rounding out the top-ten was West Australian John O'Dowd.

The event has seen record attendance numbers from the Canberra community, eager to check out what the international cars have had to offer.

Team MRF dominate the National Capital Rally
27 May 2017   by Event Release

It has been a battle all day between the two Team MRF Skoda’s as day one of the National Capital Rally draws to a close with Norway’s Ole Christian Veiby leading Gaurav Gill from India by 11 seconds. The teams will tackle the Todbinbilla forest tomorrow for the final day of round two of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championships.

"I have to say today has been really good, I have enjoyed the day a lot it’s something special,” Veiby said today. “We had our issues as well today, with a small puncture at the end of a stage but all is going well. The stages are different and not so fast tomorrow and a little bit different. It should work fine for us. We have made some adjustments for tomorrow".

“This rally has been a big fight with Gaurav and hopefully it will be our time tomorrow. We will have a good night’s sleep and prepare for tomorrow,” Veiby concluded.

Reigning champion Gill sits behind Veiby by 11 seconds. “It’s been a short day but it has been really good, really fast stages I have loved the stages,”

Gill said today. “We have had some small issues with our intercooler having a hole in it, we did lose some power. We have been trying to change the set up as well through the day. “It’s been a great day and a great battle with Ole and Yari, tomorrow is another day and we will give it our best shot,” Gill concluded .

Just 25 seconds off the lead and in third place is Jari Ketomaa in the MPart AP4 Mitsubishi Mirage. The Finn was 30 seconds off the lead at mid-day service but clawed back time in the afternoon with some on the limit driving. “I really was pushing hard, too hard sometimes but the car just felt so good on the afternoon loop”, said Ketomaa at evening service.

Ketomaa’s MPart team-mate Robert Blomberg is 4th overall, while the leading Group N driver and 5th is Australian Brad Markovic in the AutoOne Subaru Impreza.

A leading retirement from the National Capital Rally was Japan’s Atsushi Masumura who got a puncture, then when he stopped to change the car fell off the jack. By the time they’d managed to repair the jack and get a spare tyre on the car, he and co-driver Akiko Nakagawa were over time and out of the rally.

The crews have 121 kilometres of competitive stages on Day 2, before the finish ceremony located at Canberra International Airport.

Young forced out of National Capital Rally in Australia
25 May 2017   by Team Release

A bitterly disappointed Mike Young has been forced to withdrawal from this weekend National Capital Rally after a mechanical failure resulted in a high speed crash in testing yesterday.

Young and co-driver Malcolm Read were undertaking a test session in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X they were to use in the event when sudden brake failure occurred. "We were starting our third run of the test and approaching the first 90 right corner in fourth gear when we had no brakes," stated Young. "I tried to scrub some speed off and put the car sideways into the corner but the car dug in and rolled twice.

Unfortunately the damage sustained to the Evo is not repairable in time to start the rally." It’s a disappointing start to the season for the defending Asia Pacific Production and Junior Rally Champion who after missing the opening round in New Zealand, was looking forward to starting his 2017 campaign in Australia. "It’s one of those things that happens in this sport, it could happen on the last corner of the rally as well. It’s not how we hoped this weekend would go but we'll look forward to our next event and starting our season there."

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