Two years ago, Henrik Krogstad took the RX2 International Series presented by Cooper Tires by storm as he sped to a trio of podium finishes and third place in the overall classification as a rookie – but the season took its toll. Following a year on the sidelines, the talented Norwegian will return in 2020 with #YellowSquad, fighting fit – and ready to do battle for glory.
After winning the Norwegian ‘Auto Sport Talent’ contest in 2015, Krogstad made his rallycross debut in RX2’s predecessor RX Lites on home turf at Hell the following summer – stunning observers by making it into the final en route to a fourth-place finish.
In light of that, his outstanding form in 2018 was perhaps little surprise, and after reaching the rostrum in Belgium, Norway and Sweden, he came within a couple of corners of claiming his maiden series victory in France, only for a spin exiting the joker on the very last lap to cost him dearly.
The 21-year-old nonetheless did enough to secure third place in the season-end standings, behind only Oliver Eriksson – a multiple champion in single-make Supercar Lites machinery – and future FIA World Rallycross Championship driver Guillaume De Ridder.
After sitting out the 2019 campaign as he focussed on evaluating his career path and establishing his own rental company, Krogstad is now back and ready to fight again. A test with #YellowSquad at Kalvholmen Motorstadion in Sweden last November immediately showed that the fire was still very much alive – and he is eager to put into practice all the lessons he learned two years ago.
“It has taken a lot of hard work to get back here,” he revealed. “I put myself under a huge amount of pressure in 2018, and that inevitably took a lot out of me. I was sick for a long time after the end of the season – it was three or four months before I felt right again. I decided to take a year away from racing to reassess everything, which really helped me to understand exactly what it is I want from life – and that’s rallycross.
“Sometimes, it’s good to step away from things, because it gives you a sense of perspective. The break has left me feeling extremely hungry for success, and heading towards the new season, I feel much better prepared for what’s to come – I know what I’m going into this time.
“The test last November was my first time back in a rallycross car since South Africa in 2018 – but it felt like I had never been away. I quickly felt at home inside the team and forged a good relationship with all the guys at #YellowSquad, and the speed was there pretty much straightaway. From that moment on, there was no question in my mind about what I needed to do – work flat-out to put a deal together to return.
“I really believe in #YellowSquad’s vision and concept – we share a very similar approach to the way we go racing. Eric [Färén] has always run an excellent team, which will only be enhanced by the input from Kevin and Timmy [Hansen]. There are a lot of experienced, hard-working guys there and everybody has a lot of respect for each other – the vibe is extremely positive and I feel I fit in perfectly.
“I’ve definitely got some unfinished business in RX2. What happened at Lohéac preyed on my mind a lot last year, and that serves as additional motivation for the coming season – although obviously, I want to take my first win well before we get to France…
“I followed the series closely in 2019 – it’s not easy to watch when you want to be out there racing, but I forced myself to do it – so I have an idea about some of the competition and there look like being a lot of potential winners this year. I won’t underestimate anybody, but I’m feeling ready. Consistency will be a big factor, as will driving smart, but my primary focus will be on getting the most out of myself at every opportunity and improving throughout the season.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to get to Barcelona in April. It really feels like now it’s my time…”
The former Norwegian karting champion will partner Supercar Lites newcomer Dan Skočdopole at #YellowSquad – a collaboration between FIA World Rallycross champions Hansen Motorsport and experienced RX2 outfit Team Färén.
Already taking advantage of the Swedish squad’s comprehensive driver development programme that works on physical fitness, simulator practice, media training and driver coaching, Krogstad participated in a training camp last week alongside Skočdopole and the Hansen brothers. Team Principal Kevin Hansen clearly has high hopes for his new protégé.
“It’s awesome to have a guy as talented as Henrik join the #YellowSquad programme,” enthused the Swede, who finished third in the World Championship standings last year. “He’s shown his speed in a Lites car before and we want to take him to the next level.
“Henrik has already integrated very well into the team; he wants to succeed and is working really hard to achieve that success, which is super important. We have the tools here at #YellowSquad to help him improve even more, so now the hard work begins!”