The decision by Nomaco bosses to close their associated racing team has left Norwegian Ludvig Hunsbedt without a drive in the European Rallycross Championship just a month before the series begins.
Nomaco, which provides services to the Norwegian oil and gas industries and is based at Mongstad near Bergen, has decided to close its racing team which first appeared in the European Rallycross Championship with Ole Kristian Nøttveit, Hunsbedt then joining the team in 2010 when he drove with Nøttveit as team mate, before being its sole entry in 2011 with a new Volvo C30. The 2011 season was billed as a test and development year that would precede an all-out title bid in 2012.
“Nomaco is not interested in racing anymore so they have decided to sell the car and close the racing team,” said Hunsbedt. “We had problems with money last year and I have had to pay some of the bills from my own pocket. I’m not interested in paying to drive this year so I will definitely not race. I might go and watch some of the events and if I get the feeling that I want to race again then perhaps I’ll look for a car to rent or if there is a chance with another team, but that’s for the future. Right now I am not racing.”
The decision of Nomaco to close its in-house team comes as the harsh economic circumstances across Europe begin to bite in Norway. Already Norwegians Mats Lysen and Sverre Isachsen have made it clear that their plans are far from settled because they do not have budgets in place. Hunsbedt says the economic situation is a factor. “The economy across Europe is not so good and business in Norway is not as easy as it used to be, I know several others who have said they are struggling for money this year.”
Although the 2011 season was geared towards being ready for this year, Hunsbedt was disappointed with the form of the Volvo C30. “We never had the power in the car that we wanted. We went back to the engine builder [Julian Godfrey Engineering] several times but it was never what I wanted. At the end of the year we put the engine on the dyno; the power was down, the torque came in too high up the rev range and when we opened the engine it had the wrong cylinder liners,” said Hunsbedt. “Because of what we found I was actually looking forward to driving the car more this year than before, because I was sure that we had got the engine right, and with the proper power I was very confident that I could win.”
Responding to the criticism levelled by Hunsbedt, Godfrey said: “There was a problem at the start of the year and that led to the team missing the race in Portugal but other than that there was no problem with the engine, I checked it and worked with them just like any other customer. Ludvig always said he did not have enough power, but he had the same as others. I think the problem was with the general preparation standard in the team, it didn’t have the attention to detail that is needed.”
The withdrawal of Nomaco Racing has put a relatively new and top class Supercar into the market place. The team is asking €240,000 ($316,000) for the Volvo that was built by Ingvar Gunnarsson Motorsport in 2011, and it seems that a GRC team is already interested in getting the C30 to America…
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