Rallycross and Touring Car star Tommy Rustad will contest the full FIA European Rallycross Championship in 2014.
Rustad drove the ex-Ludvig Hunsbedt Volvo C30 Supercar in the Norwegian and Swedish rounds of RallycrossRX in 2014. On both occasions he set fastest times in the heats, but niggling problems kept him out of the final. The experienced racer will return for 2014 fully focused on winning the European crown.
“We have the budget to do six races in 2014, so we will do the five European championship rounds and also Holjes in Sweden,” said Rustad. “I am really looking forward to it, and of course my goal is to win the championship. I think the European championship will be very competitive, just like the World championship will be too, so we will have to work hard.”
The Volvo is currently undergoing an extensive overhaul to make improvements and resolve issues encountered in 2013; “We are making the car stronger, especially the suspension. We are making improvements to the engine and gearbox. I also need to be better myself and all of my focus is on the European Rallycross Championship for next year.”
One of the most experienced all-round drivers on the grid, the Norwegian has clear ideas about where he needs to improve ahead of the coming season. “I need to be much better off the start-line. When we make a good start we can be fastest. Once the car is rebuilt we will start testing as soon as we can. We need to see if we can change settings on the car, or if I need to change my own style.”
Rustad last raced full-time in the European rallycross championship in 2006, when he partnered countryman Sverre Isachsen in a two-car Ford Focus team, eventually finishing third overall. He returned for the Norwegian round of the championship in 2007 at Momarken, for a one off appearance as team-mate to Morten Bermingrud. Rustad finished second. “The cars are a little more easy to drive now than when I last raced a Supercar, the suspension is better, but the grip from the tyres is less because they are not full slicks. The engine in the Focus was a bit different to the one we have in the Volvo now.”
Along with notable changes to the machinery, Rustad thinks that recent changes to the championship have changed teams and drivers outlook on events. “It’s so important now to finish all of the heats. Not only do you need a competitive car but you also need to drive smart. I am really looking forward to it.”
Since last competing regularly in European rallycross, Rustad has competed in Swedish and World Touring Car Championships, and more recently competed in Scandinavian SuperNational rallycross. In the early part of his career, Rustad was a six time Norwegian rallycross champion before moving to circuit racing.
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