While it was the ŠKODA Motorsport crew of Jan Kopecký / Pavel Dresler who took the win and extended the ŠKODA works team’s impressive 100% record for the 2017 WRC2 season, there was also much to praise in the performance of the young Norwegian driver Ole Christian Veiby whose second place finish was his best ever result at a WRC2 event.
Driving for the Printsport Oy team, alongside regular co-driver Stig Rune Skjærmoen, the 20-year old, who turns 21 next Saturday (17th June), was mostly taking part to learn about the rally for the future. His main aim was to finish, so it was no surprise he started cautiously as he adapted to the unique challenges the Rally Italia Sardegna presents to drivers.
On the first leg, he missed a junction on special stage 3 and also suffered a puncture, but despite this, as his confidence grew, Veiby found his pace and began to post some solid times, including two stage victories, and ended the day in second position, more than a minute and a half ahead of his closest rival.
The following day was a little less dramatic, despite another puncture which cost him around 20 seconds, but consistent times saw Veiby retain second place and claim another stage victory. Ending the day more than four minutes clear, it was then a straightforward task for Veiby to close out the final four stages of leg 3 and secure the runners-up spot.
There were no other ŠKODAs competing in the WRC2 standings in Italy, but local Sardinian driver Giuseppe Dettori and his co-driver Carlo Pisano brought home their FABIA R5 in seventh place in the RC2 class standings.
Dutchman Kees Burger and his co-driver Mikko Lukka from Finland returned to the second leg under Rally2 rules after being forced to retire on stage 4, and ended up eleventh in the RC2 class. Meanwhile, Giovanni Bitti / Paolo Cottu finished tenth in the RC2 standings in their FABIA S2000.
The FIA World Rally Championship will return in three weeks with its eighth round, the Rally Poland, which takes place in and around Mikolajki from 29th June to 2nd July.