Well known within the paddock, and relatively experienced in the sport compared to some of his compatriots, it’s easy to forget that when Knut Ove Borseth started the first round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship at Lydden Hill, he was embarking on his first full season in the Supercar category.
Champion in the TouringCar category in 2009 at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta VI, Borseth defended his title in 2010, in a newly built Fiesta VII, losing out on a second title in a last round battle to Derek Tohill. He then part-exchanged his Fiesta for a Ford Focus Supercar with Koen Pauwels but never managed to find the time to contest any more than his most local events in either 2011 or 2012.
A shrewd businessman, Borseth is founder of charitable organisation Drive for life in Norway, something that consumes almost all of his time. Knowing how big a commitment contesting a full European Championship is, Borseth has teamed up with Hedstroms Motorsport for 2013, driving a Skoda Fabia alongside Swedish driver Peter Hedstrom. “Being in a team is new for me, previously I had my own team and just ran my car,” says Borseth. “It’s very interesting how much it helps, although Peter and I have very different driving styles we are able to discuss lots of things. We can give each other feedback which is great and learn a lot more. The sport is turning into a team sport more and more and it is important for the future that I get the experience of having a team mate.”
Not only is Borseth team mate to Hedstrom, but the Swede’s Hedstroms Motorsport outfit also takes care of the Skoda Fabias at and between events. “The team is a really great bunch of guys, and while I am learning they are having to learn too. With all the problems we have had in the first two events we all have to improve from every side. I have to succeed at this, and so do the team. I really love being back in the sport, but I am not here to drive for tenth place. I have a chance of winning,” says Borseth, commenting on the mechanical issues that have curtailed his first two events of the year. Power steering issues dogged the Norwegian driver at Lydden Hill, with similar problems slowing progress in Portugal before engine failure put him out of the event all together.
“We don’t need to hide the fact that we are all disappointed with how things have gone so far, and we haven’t been able to show what we can do. I had power steering problems all event at Lydden which makes the car so hard to drive. I made a really great start in the semi-final so we could have made up some ground, but we had a crash in the joker lap so that was that,” explained Borseth. “I was so motivated in the run up to Portugal, but although the team had done everything they could we still had small technical problems. On top of that the engine was about 100 horsepower down on what it should be because of the high altitude at Montalegre, so we were trying to sort that all weekend until the engine blew after the fourth heat.”
Despite his problems, at the Intermediate Classification in Portugal Borseth lay in seventh place. With his engine failing at the end of heat four, he had to withdraw from the event, allowing thirteent-placed qualifier, and team mate, Hedstrom in. “I was so disappointed in Portugal, the only saving thing was that Peter was able to run in the semi when I dropped out. That isn’t what we want to happen though. We both need to be in the final.”
Hedstoms Motorsport have worked hard since Portugal, and with a test session planned before Hungary the whole team is hoping for a change in fortune. “We have had no luck at all, but we need to do more preparation and testing. The guys worked really hard between Lydden and Portugal, but with no testing the problems were not 100% gone. It’s hard because I am in Norway and the team is in Sweden but that is just something we have to deal with. Hopefully we can have a really good test before Hungary, I’m hoping it will be at Holjes and we can make good progress before Hungary and learn as much as we can for the Swedish round of the championship [held at Holjes].”
Currently ninth in the championship standings, with a change in luck and form at the next round in Hungary, Borseth could quickly start climbing the table.
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