Daniel Thorén – one of the undisputed revelations of the 2018 RallyX Nordic presented by Cooper Tires campaign – has confirmed he will return to the growing series in 2019 as the born-again racer focusses on having ‘as much fun as possible’.
Unlike many of his Supercar class rivals, Thorén followed a rather less conventional route into the sport, only stepping into a rallycross car for the first time towards the end of 2017 – but even then, he explains, the intention was never to actually compete…
“I’ve always had a big interest in cars and rallycross, but until last year, I had never so much as sat in a racing car – I’d never even raced a go-kart competitively,” the 42-year-old reveals.
“I had been on the sidelines of the sport for many years as a sponsor – initially to Peter Hedström and Ramona Karlsson – but it’s not easy for me to just watch, because I always want to be directly involved. When RallyX Nordic was revamped, Peter offered me the opportunity to try out his Volkswagen Polo Supercar, so I drove it for 20 laps at Höljes in late 2017 and – I have to admit – it scared me half to death. But at the same time, it was so much fun…
“I drove it again the following week, after which, Peter asked if I wanted to have a go at racing. I said I’d never competed before and had no licence, but he kept on pushing me and a couple of months later he asked if I would do just the RallyX Nordic round at Höljes. I agreed purely to get him off my back, and then two days afterwards, he announced on Facebook that he had signed a driver for the full 2018 Nordic campaign. I called him to ask who the driver was, and he told me it was me…”
Behind the wheel of his Hedströms Motorsport VW Polo, Thorén won one of his qualifying races first time out and in round three – at Grenland in Norway – he finished on the podium following a race-long battle with countryman Andreas Carlsson.
Despite a heavy crash at the semi-final stage of the last round at Tierp, the Swede concluded the season a commendable eighth in the Supercar class standings – and now, he is back for more, dovetailing his RallyX Nordic commitments with a parallel campaign in FIA Euro RX.
“I have to be honest, I had a great year in 2018,” he reflected. “To finish eighth in the championship having never driven competitively before was a fantastic outcome! It’s safe to say the results far exceeded my expectations, and whilst I required a significant slice of luck to reach the podium in Norway, that definitely spurred me on.
“Rallycross is like a drug – once you try it, you want more, and I always knew I wanted to come back again this year. It’s been a big job to prepare the car over the winter – we dismantled it into a thousand pieces and have refreshed it in every area – and I haven’t been able to test as much as I’d have liked due to work commitments, but still, I can’t wait for the season to start!
“I also can’t think of anywhere better to do that than Höljes. I feel a little bit at home there, and beginning with a double-header event will make for an amazing weekend. I’m going to take the season one race at a time and make sure I have as much fun as possible – after all, isn’t that the most important thing!”