Tue 31 Oct 2023

Svardal: I’d love to see what I can achieve with a top team and car

Off the back of another giant-killing display in Euro RX1 this year, Sivert Svardal is aiming to secure a seat with a leading team and car in 2024 in a bid to consistently take the fight to the best in the business...

Off the back of another giant-killing display in the FIA European Rallycross Championship’s top tier this year, Sivert Svardal is aiming to secure a seat with a leading team and car in 2024 in a bid to consistently take the fight to the best in the business.

Svardal might have placed ‘only’ seventh in the standings in his third full campaign at Euro RX1 level – a three-place drop compared to 2022 – but on-track, it was unquestionably his finest season to-date as he truly came of age and established himself as a regular front-runner at the pinnacle of European competition.

The highly-rated young Norwegian’s breakthrough international victory on home soil in Hell – arguably the most popular triumph in any category in 2023 – was as brilliant as it was opportunistic, and while unavoidable contact with a stranded Anton Marklund in the Nyirád curtain-raiser dealt a hefty blow to his hopes of a strong championship finish, he was always firmly in the mix.

After unleashing Andreas Bakkerud-rivalling speed in Sweden, a maiden fastest heat time in Portugal – having missed out by a scant 0.019s in Hungary – was followed up by third position in the intermediate ranking in Belgium. Indeed, come season’s end, only Marklund, Jānis Baumanis and Enzo Ide could lay claim to more top three heat race performances than Svardal.

“I went into the season with greater motivation and confidence than ever before, and I think that showed in my driving,” the 23-year-old reflects. “The Volkswagen Polo that we bought last winter allowed me to take the next step and go wheel-to-wheel with the best in Europe. We knew that if the favourites hit trouble, we could be right there to take advantage and in Hell, that was exactly what we did.

“Höljes was definitely our strongest circuit in terms of pure speed. I was easily able to keep up with Andreas Bakkerud in heat three and when we got to the final, I really thought another podium was within reach. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and we had to settle for sixth place, but that’s rallycross. Sometimes things go your way – like in Norway – and sometimes they don’t.”

While acknowledging that his ex-Marklund Motorsport Polo was ‘much more competitive than the model that we ran in 2021 and 2022’, still it was not quite at the same level as the former world championship cars in the field.

Not only that, but in a series that pits large, well-established teams against plucky privateers, Svardal’s tiny, family-run operation – comprising just his father and a mechanic – is very much at the latter end of the spectrum, making his achievements all the more impressive. Having spent three seasons boldly battling the big-buck outfits, however, now he wants to join them.

“Competing in a championship like this with our family team is a tough task because we have to do everything ourselves, from raising the budget to all the logistics as well as updates and repairs to the car,” explains the Konsmo native.

“I’m not complaining – we knew what to expect when we entered the championship – but perhaps being such a small team, we aren’t able to react as quickly as the larger teams and that means we don’t always get the best out of the car.

“We’re currently considering selling the Polo, and if we manage to do so, we will give serious thought to the possibility of renting a car with a professional team for a couple of rounds next season.

“What I really want is to try one of the latest-generation Supercars like an Audi S1 or Hyundai i20. I’m pretty sure that if I’d had the same kind of technical package as Anton [Marklund] or Enzo [Ide], I could have fought for the title this year, so I’d love to see what I can achieve with a car of that calibre...”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 8:30:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 9:30:00 AM