Fri 31 May 2024

ERC Take Five with Frank Tore Larsen

After a high-speed crash on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia last July wrecked his hopes of FIA European Rally Championship glory – and his Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 – Norway’s Frank Tore Larsen is returning to the ERC event next month to chase the podium finish that got away. This is what the 33-year-old Norwegian has had to say.

Is getting revenge behind your decision to return to the ERC on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia – you were in the podium fight in 2023 after all?
“It is because we didn’t go to Sweden with a clear target last year, we just wanted to see where we were. But how the rally developed I felt we had more pace than we were able to show and still we were fighting for the podium. So this year we go back with more self-confidence and with a clear goal to be on the podium on Saturday. But it’s not going to be easy because I think the field will be even harder to beat than last year.”  

There is a lot said about the strong competition in the ERC. Are you confident you can achieve your target?
“Absolutely. When you get to a certain level in the ERC there are up to 20 drivers that are on such a high level. What makes the difference during a rally like BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia is the confidence, and the feeling with the car and the package you have. We go into the rally with a good confidence and a belief that we have the package needed to fight at the top. We showed that last year and it should also be a good package this year so I have the confidence to fight for the podium positions. But there are so many good drivers and good teams that a lot of things can happen during the event, I am sure it’s going to be really exciting.”

Does the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 still have what it takes to win, it’s quite an old car now? “The car is still competitive and that’s a huge accomplishment by the FIA with the Rally2 category regulations that you can use still use a car that’s five years old and still be competitive. People can still fight for the victories with the previous Škoda, the Polo… there are so many cars you can win an event in so it’s a really good category. But for us it’s a constant battle. We can’t change any big parts, we can’t do any big stuff. But my philosophy  is if you are able to do 50 things with the car to try to find something, then it will matter when you are fighting for the tenths of seconds in a stage. That could be changing the position of the nut gun to change the centre of the weight, what you carry in the car, all these small things can make a difference.”  

What do you need to do to be fast on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia? 
“The speed is so high because the roads are so nice, it’s fast, flowing roads, not very rough, not many ruts, if’s down to pure speed. The ones that have the best feeling with the surface and the grip will be the ones who go fastest because there’s not too much else you have to think about with tyre wear, with punctures, stuff like that. It’s just pure racing.”

You’re not the only fast Norwegian entered on the event with Petter Solberg, the 2003 world champion, also in action. How good is that?
“For me it was like a bit of a goosebump moment. I was at work when someone told me Petter is doing a comeback so I had to take a look. I was 12 years old when Petter became world champion and I still remember we had to take the train from where I lived to Spydeberg where Petter is from. I was standing there when he came with the helicopter back from Wales to celebrate becoming world champion. Okay that was 21 years ago but it feels strange to be competing against your idol.”  

BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia takes place from 13 -15 June. Ticket information is available here:

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM