Fredrik ‘Salle’ Salsten will make his FIA European Rallycross Championship debut at the first round of the series in Portugal next month, as he embarks on a challenge in the TouringCar category driving a brand new Citroen DS3 RWD built in co-operation with Swedish rallycross car builder Ingvar Gunnarsson Motorsport.
The Norwegian driver finished second in the North European Zone Championship’s Open category in 2013, having led the series for much of the year at the wheel of a Subaru Impreza RWD, and is graduating to European championship competition for 2014. “We have built the new car over the winter, with assistance from Ingvar Gunnarsson. The engine we are using is from Alternative Engineering,” said 25-year-old Salsten, who together with Gunnarsson has gone down a different route to most competing the in the TouringCar category. “We have completely re-thought the suspension from what is normally used in TouringCar. Most of the suspension components are new ideas. Usually a TouringCar has a solid rear axle, but we have gone for independent suspension. Over a lap this idea will be quicker, but we will probably lose out a bit on the starts. We are hoping that we can match the others at the start and then be quicker over a lap.”
With the car very nearly ready to begin testing, Salsten has high hopes for the season ahead, but is also aware of the challenges he faces; “The car was lowered onto it’s wheels for the first time yesterday (Tuesday), and we will start testing next week at our local circuit. After that I hope to test at a bigger circuit like Holjes, which is the only circuit in the European Championship I have raced at before. There are eight new circuits for me to learn, and i’ve never raced in the European championship before so everything is completely new – there is lots to adjust to and learn.
“My goal is for a top five position overall at the end of the season, and to try and get a win during the year. That is a pretty big goal but I have confidence in myself and the car should be good, i’m really looking forward to Portugal!”
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