Veiby given six-month WRC ban for COVID-19 protocol breach

WRC2 driver Ole Christian Veiby has been suspended from competing in the remaining rounds of this year's World Rally Championship after breaching COVID-19 protocols.

Veiby given six-month WRC ban for COVID-19 protocol breach

The FIA has handed Veiby a six-month ban after failing to notify the motor racing governing body that he had been in contact with a person that has since contracted COVID-19.

As a result, he is banned from any WRC event until 23 November, a week after the Rally Japan finale, which means he will miss the remaining events of the season.

Co-driver Jonas Andersson has a lesser three-month ban until 21 August having been found guilty of breaking quarantine regulations and for travelling from Spain to Portugal.

Veiby himself tested positive for COVID-19 after Thursday's pre-event shakedown for last weekend's Rally Portugal, forcing him to withdraw from the rally.

The 24-year-old Norwegian had been in contact with WRC2 title leader Andreas Mikkelsen prior to Rally Portugal at the Targa Florio rally earlier this month. Since that event, Mikkelsen tested positive for COVID-19 last Monday and was forced out of Rally Portugal.

While Veiby and co-driver Andersson both tested negative for the virus last Monday, Veiby had breached COVID-19 protocols by failing to notify the contact with Mikkelsen to the FIA COVID-19 delegate.

Ole Christian Veiby, Jonas Andersson, Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai i20 R5

Ole Christian Veiby, Jonas Andersson, Hyundai Motorsport N Hyundai i20 R5

Photo by: Fabien Dufour / Hyundai Motorsport

"Mr Veiby took a routine antigen test on Thursday, 20 May. The result was positive. He was retested with 1D NOWTM COVID-19 molecular rapid test as well as a regular PCR test, both of which revealed a positive result," read a stewards report.

"Contact tracing was done and co-driver Jonas Andersson was found as the only close contact.

"The driver was ordered to isolate in his hotel room and the co-driver was set in quarantine. The public health authority (PHA) was informed. Mr Andersson was tested as negative for COVID-19.

"Mr Veiby did not declare to the FIA COVID-19 delegate that he had been in close contact with a person who was found to be COVID-19 positive during the week before the Portugal event. This is a breach of the FIA ISC, Appendix S, Art. 6.18.

"Moreover, the public health authority state that all positive COVID-19 persons must self-isolate for 10 days. Mr Veiby did not do this and drove to Spain on 20 May.

"The World Rally Championship and the FIA take the regulations of FIA ISC [International Sporting Code] Appendix S and the procedures to reduce the exposure to the pandemic extremely seriously.

"Mr Veiby did not state that he had been in close contact with a positive case in the days before the Portugal event and he did furthermore not have permission to, nor did he seek permission to leave Portugal to return to Spain when he was supposed to be in quarantine for 10 days in Portugal.

"This is a serious breach of the applicable regulations."

Read Also:

Veiby released statement of his own following the news of his ban, explaining his actions.

"It's with a big shock I have received the steward's decision regarding my positive COVID-19 test in Portugal. I understand this is a serious situation, but I acted according to the information given and in good faith," read the statement.

"I tested negative three times over a five day period prior to the positive test. I have never hidden the fact that I spent time with a person during the Targa Florio Rally and after, that later tested positive.

"When my positive test result came back, I immediately isolated at the hotel. Back at the hotel, we received a phone call from a representative from the organisers COVID team, explaining us we could finish the isolation at home, if we drove by car, which is why I left for our family house in Spain, alone in a car, to avoid contact with other people.

"I can only apologise for the situation and I'm really sorry for the team. I sincerely hope I haven't exposed anyone else with the virus."

Hyundai Motorsport N has also been reprimanded by the stewards and will announce its new WRC2 driver line-up soon.

"We fully respect and support the decisions and the reprimands outlined by the Stewards in this case, as we take these protocols extremely seriously," said team boss Andrea Adamo.

"We will communicate further about our WRC2 line-up in due course."

shares
comments

Related video

Evans: Rally Portugal win important after “painful” Croatia miss

Previous article

Evans: Rally Portugal win important after “painful” Croatia miss

Next article

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory
Load comments
How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia Plus

How Finland’s newest rally hero made WRC history in Estonia

Kalle Rovanpera broke a decade-old record in becoming the World Rally Championship's youngest-ever winner in a truly dominant performance on Estonia's fast gravel roads. Staving off the challenge of Hyundai's Craig Breen, his committed drive showed a maturity beyond his 20 years that gives Toyota's post-Ogier era a far brighter complexion

WRC
Jul 19, 2021
How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale Plus

How WRC's new Safari adventure ended with a familiar tale

The World Rally Championship’s delayed return to the Safari Rally was always set throw up some surprises, but aside from a spirited showing by Thierry Neuville it became another painful event for Hyundai in 2021. Once again it was Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage as he completed a stunning comeback drive

WRC
Jun 28, 2021
Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win Plus

Remembering Colin McRae’s final WRC win

The Safari Rally returns to the World Rally Championship this weekend for the first time since 2002 - when crowd favourite Colin McRae set aside the maximum attack style for which he was renowned to deliver a textbook third win

WRC
Jun 23, 2021
How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2 Plus

How Hyundai's broken record gave Toyota a special Sardinia 1-2

For the second WRC gravel rally in a row, a promising Friday for Hyundai turned into desolation as Toyota gratefully picked up the pieces. This time it was championship leader Sebastien Ogier who took full advantage after Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo retired to score a memorable victory, having swept the road on the first two days

WRC
Jun 7, 2021
How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory Plus

How Hyundai's latest self-destruction handed Evans Portugal victory

At one point Hyundai held the top three positions in Portugal, but when trouble struck the Korean marque's two leading chargers, a grateful Elfyn Evans was on hand to see off Hyundai third man Dani Sordo and become the third different winner in four rallies

WRC
May 24, 2021
Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages Plus

Why the success of AVB's WRC debut won't be defined on the stages

Three years after a Dakar Rally crash resulted in him being airlifted to hospital, Andre Villas-Boas is preparing to make his debut on his home round of the World Rally Championship later this month. His goals for the event are modest, but the same cannot be said for the charities he plans to promote where his true impact could be felt

WRC
May 13, 2021
Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel Plus

Why there's no easy fix for Hyundai's operational Achilles Heel

Hyundai Motorsport boss Andrea Adamo was vocal in his criticism of his team's tyre choices on Rally Croatia and declared that he "had better move my ass and solve it". Doing so will be vital to getting Hyundai's 2021 WRC title hopes back on track, but finding the root of the problem won't be the work of a moment

WRC
Apr 28, 2021
How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia Plus

How Ogier held on after a shock bump in the road to triumph in Croatia

Sebastien Ogier was already in an incredibly tight fight at Rally Croatia before a surprise collision with public road traffic at the start of the final day. But the defending champion held his nerve to take a narrow victory and create further World Rally Championship history

WRC
Apr 26, 2021