Ole Christian Veiby has apologized to the Hyundai team for a six-month ban following a breach of COVID-19 protocols on Rally Portugal.
The Norwegian has added, however, that he believed he followed the correct instructions after testing positive.
He said: “It’s with a big shock I have received the stewards’ 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.
“I tested negative three times over a five-day period prior to the positive test.”
The 24-year-old had tackled the Sicilian event in an i20 Coupe WRC, with Andreas Mikkelsen also attending the rally to work with him. Mikkelsen tested positive for COVID-19 soon after returning from the Italian island.
Veiby continued: “I have never hidden the fact that I spent time with a person [Mikkelsen] 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 organizers’ COVID team, explaining [to] 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.”
Veiby’s ban means he will miss the rest of this year’s World Rally Championship action.
“I can only apologize for the situation,” he said, “and I’m really sorry for the team. I sincerely hope I haven’t exposed anyone else with the virus.”
Asked for his reaction, Hyundai Motorsport team principal Andrea Adamo told DirtFish: “I trust in the FIA and the stewards to make this decision.
“They have the facts. It’s tough for us, it’s tough for OC, but that’s it.”