About Ola

OLA FLØENE

About_Ola

Date of birth: 1 February 1969
Lives: Hamar and Brumunddal, Norway
Hobbies: Motocross and mountain biking.
Rally debut: 1989

 

Biography

Ola Fløene is one of Norway’s most experienced co-drivers, and has developed a pace note system that is used by some notable countrymen – namely, Petter Solberg, Henning Solberg and Andreas Mikkelsen.
Born into a skiing family in Hamar, a town located on the shores of Lake Mjøsa, Norway’s largest lake, Ola began competing in motocross at the age of 12. His parents didn’t approve, so with the help of his grandfather, he continued competing with some success until he was 20 – before turning his hand to co-driving.

It was just for fun at first, but by 1996 he was co-driving for Morten Østberg (Mads’ father) in the Norwegian and Swedish Rally Championships in a Prodrive-built Subaru. Unfortunately for them, the next three years coincided with brothers Petter and Henning Solberg doing the same rallies, and after some big battles Ola’s best result was runner-up in the series.
By 2000, Ola was keen to contest some new events and broaden his experience, but he was lucky to survive two huge accidents with Martin Stenshorne. The first was on a winter rally when they hit a tree side on, and only the fact that the tree was frozen like glass and snapped on impact saved Ola from more serious injuries. He wasn’t so fortunate when they rolled in fifth gear on a summer rally later the same year. The car landed hard on a large rock, pushing the floor up underneath Ola’s seat and breaking his back in the process.

Ola decided the only break he wanted now was from rallying itself, and he became Sales Manager for Audi Norway. He was working in his office one day when Petter Solberg invited himself in and said, ’Ola, what the hell are you doing here? Why don’t you come rallying again?’
Unable to find a good excuse not to, Ola returned to the co-driver’s seat with Henning Solberg on the 2000 Rally GB – where they finished 14th overall in a Toyola Corolla. They started the 2001 season together, but crashed out of Rally Sweden and by the time Rally Portugal had arrived they had decided they would stay friends outside the rally car, but never sit in one together again! In 2002, Ola began co-driving for up and coming young Austrian driver David Doppelreiter in the FIA Junior-World Rally Championship (a talented driver Ola has a huge amount of respect for) and for Bernt Kollevold in the FIA Production Car World Rally Championship.

The busy schedule continued the following year when he and Doppelreiter finished 3rd in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, while Ola also partnered Patrik Richard in the P-WRC. Co-driving had become a full time occupation for Ola, but another massive accident at the beginning of 2004 put that into jeopardy. Unseasonably warm weather had made the Swedish Rally very fast, and whilst travelling flat-out in sixth gear the Hyundai WRC he was sharing with Kristian Kollberg hit a snow bank and was catapulted into the adjacent forest. The next thing Ola remembers is a medical rescue helicopter hovering overhead and he was ordered to stay in bed for the next four weeks.
Fully recovered, in 2005 Ola co-drove for Doppelreiter in the Austrian Rally Championship and small events in Norway. The year ended with the Dakar Rally, when Ola co-drove for Austrian driver Raphael Sperrer across the Sahara. It was a great adventure, but the duo were robbed of a worthy finish when mechanical problems stopped them in Senegal, just one and a half days before the finish.

In March 2006, Henning Solberg asked Ola to go testing, but when he arrived at the venue it became clear that Henning wasn’t doing the driving. Instead, a 16-year old Andreas Mikkelsen was about to climb into a Ford Focus WRC, with an empty co-drivers seat waiting for Ola to fill. When Ola discovered that Andreas had only been driving for two months, he wasn’t too keen to sit in. “I looked at Henning as said, ‘are you trying to kill me’,” recalls Ola. But after that day, Ola and Andreas were inseparable for six years and competed with impressive results, among them two IRC Champion titles.

In January 2013, Ola joined Pontus in the co-drivers’ seat and with a great start of the season, Ola is now focused on guiding him to victory in this year’s FIA Junior WRC.

 

Career highlights

2012
WRC co-driver, Wolksvagen Motorsport with Andreas Mikkelsen. (Sweden, Argentina, Greace, Finland, Germany, France, Italia and Espania. Recce WRC MonteCarlo, Portugal, GB Rally + POLO WRC testing during 2012)
IRC Champion with Andreas Mikkelsen – ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000

2011
WRC co-driver Wolksvagen Motorsport (Finland)
IRC Champion with Andreas Mikkelsen – ŠKODA UK Motorsport Fabia S2000
1st Rally of Cyprus
1st Rally of Scotland

2010
1st S-WRC / 10th overall, Wales Rally GB (Škoda Fabia S2000)
1st Love Cyprus Golden Stage Rally
2nd RACMSA Rally of Scotland
5th Barum Czech Rally Zlín
4th Sata Rally Açores
5th Geko Ypres Rally
2nd S-WRC / 11th overall, Swedish Rally

2009
1st Group N Norwegian Rally Championship
1st Subaru Cup
1st Rally Costa Brava
3rd Rally Bohemia, Czech Republic (Škoda Fabia S2000)

2008
Contested 7 rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship – Sweden, Sardinia, Turkey,
Finland, Germany, Spain and Corsica
5th overall, Swedish Rally
Special stage win Rallye Deutschland
8th Rally de España
1st Rally Finnskog
1st Rally Numedal

2007
Contested 8 rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship – Norway, Portugal, Finland,
Germany, Spain, Corsica, Ireland and GB
Irish Tarmac Rally Championship rounds – including 3rd on the UAC Easter Int Rally and Int.
Rally of the Lakes and 5th on the Manx Int Rally

2006
1st Quinton Stages, Coracle, Plains, Bulldog and Cambrian Rallies (UK)
1st Saaremaa Rally (Estonia)
Wales Rally GB with Andreas Mikkelsen
DAKAR Rally with Raphael Sperrer

2005
Austrian Championship with David Doppelreiter (Škoda WRC)
Started training with Andreas Mikkelsen in Norway and UK

2004
Accident on Rally Sweden with Kristian Kollberg (Hyundai WRC) prevented full co-driving season.

2003
3rd in Asia-Pacific Rally Championship with David Doppelreiter
FIA Production Car World Rally Championship with Patrik Richard

2002
FIA Production Car World Rally Championship with Bernt Kollevold
FIA Junior-World Rally Championship with David Doppelreiter

2000
Scandinavia rallies with Martin Stenshorne
14th Rally GB with Henning Solberg

1996-1999-
Norwegian and Swedish Rally Championships with Morten Østberg