Frank Tore Larsen and co-driver Torstein Eriksen’s season of hard work was rewarded last weekend when the childhood friends were crowed champions in the Norwegian Rally Championship’s most closely-fought and competitive class.
When the 2012 season began on the ice and snow covered stages in early January, the duo had one ambition – to become Norwegian Rally Champions. After a season of intense competition and hard work they achieved their goal on the season finale at Rally Hedemarken when a podium finish secured the Gold.
“What a feeling, we are the 2012 champions of Norway ”, said the boys.
Before the seventh and final round of the season, the pairing held a lead of 16 points to nearest competitor, Steve Røkland. If Røkland had won the final round, Larsen had only to finish fourth to claim the Gold.
“A fourth place in this class is not easy, so we had to push,” admitted Larsen. “We found the flow and beat Røkland on the first two stages and he was unable to push us without making mistakes. When he went off the road on SS3, we had a bit of breathing space and used the remainder of the rally to just have some proper fun on the fast roads.”
The duo concluded the season with two rally victories and were regular top-finishers on all seven rounds. Since they claimed victory on the second round, many anticipated championship gold and there had been a lot of pressure on the boys. They do not hide the fact that this year has been a challenge, but thanks to the enthusiasm within the team the season has been a unique and wonderful experience.
“This is indescribable. There are so many hours of hard work behind this gold and we are so relieved to have made it. There was so much media focus in the final round and it really is amazing,” said co-driver Eriksen.
The duo, who run with support from Adapta World Rally Team and WRC front-runner Mads Østberg, take the opportunity to thank everyone who has supported them throughout the season, especially their mechanics whose spirit and hard-work has been of great help – even if they took time out from their regular jobs!
With a break until the Championship resumes next year, Larsen and Eriksen will use the next few months to try and obtain more sponsors so the team can continue their successful efforts. Their goal is to contest more international rallies, but they will need to find the budget to achieve this.
The 2013 Norwegian Rally Championship is set to resume with Rally Hadeland on 19 January. Follow along for updates throughout the autumn as much is still to come from the newly-crowned champions who hail from Drammen in Norway!
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