Linnerud is developing

24/07/2015 by Morgan Carlsson

A full 360 spin at Hockenheim helped presenting Volkswagen Team Sweden’s Tord Linnerud to motorsport fans around the world. The Youtube success was a fact. - A lot of people have seen that clip, says the smiling 40-year-old from Gjövik in Norway. For me ’pedal-to-the-metal’ was the natural thing.

Linnerud was squeezed between Heikkinen and Marklund, before crashing into the rail, leaving the rear window behind. The Norwegian showed his driving skills as he simply continued on his route after the spin.

- Tord has a fundamental knowledge of handling a car, says team boss Tommy Kristoffersson in praise.

But the motorsport career started on two wheels.

- I have always been interested in machines. I started motorcycling when I was 12 or 13 years old and at the age of 15 I entered the national Norwegian senior team in motocross, as the youngest driver in the team.

An early career that suggests a family with interest in motorsport.

- No, actually not. There are no such genes in my family. I am the first one.

Driving has always been the thing for Linnerud. Preferably the car is just there, ready to enter.

- I have never been interested in repair and maintenance. I think that is boring.

Injuries kept coming and put and end to the career on motorcycle. Fingers, wrists, even the nose was damaged.

- I got into a mode of injuries, so I decided to get a racing licence and started hill climbing in a VW Beetle 1600.

That was in 1996 och after that he went into the racing series STCC and did a couple of years in rally before he quit motorsport in 2007.

- I was a bit fed up with it by then and the demands for sponsors were tougher. I lost a big sponsor and at the same time Östberg and Mikkelsen appeared with big budgets. We were quite many that quit by then.

The interest came back a couple of years later and in the autumn 2013 he entered the rallycross EC as a substitute in Mats Lysen’s Renault Clio. Last year in Höljes and even so in Italy, his present team manager Kristoffersson took notice of the potential the Norwegian possessed.

- I talked to Tommy and in Höljes last autumn I was able to do a successful test on rain. This year I decided to go for as good a series as possible.

When the offer from Volkswagen Team Sweden appeared there was no real hesitation from Linnerud.

- This is the best team with people who have done motorsport for generations. We have good engineers on motor and chassis and it is a big advantage to have three identical cars for testing and comparing.

Team manager Kristoffersson has had the last few months to become aquainted with the recycling entrepreneur from the shore of lake Mjösa.

- He is a happy fellow with lots of positive energy. But we have also seen his competitive side and Tord can be furious if things don’t work the way he wants. I see that as a sign of health. I would be more worried if he didn’t react.

Linnerud on the other hand can give his verdict of the boss.

- Tommy is charming, but also a tough guy with firm decisions. He doesn’t like to lose either. I think that Tommy has discovered that I demand a bit more than he thought from the start.

Tord Linnerud lies twelth in the championship at the moment, not to his total satisfaction.

- I think I should have been in more finals.

Linnerud is working in several areas to improve.

- I always watch in-board-films to learn from. I also do a lot of physical exercise and have lost weight. Ten kilos down so far this year. Five or six more and I will be really fit.

Qualifying for the final in Buxtehude was a sign that the Norwegian is developing.

- I somewhat broke a code there. Now I go for the podium and further on winning a race. I will do everything I can to take care of this chance.



Age: 40 years.

Live: Gjövik, Oppland, Norway.

Family: Partner Nina, a 4-year-old son and a daughter, 9 years.

Eats: Summertime I like chicken and pork. Wintertime I prefer beef.

Drinks: Water. For a party I enjoy a gin and tonic.

Watches: Sport, enjoys all types of sport, almost. American Idol as well. I am annoyed by the fact I don’t do music myself.

Favourite movie: Almost never watch a movie. Something funny maybe, like Hot Shots.

Listens to: Everything but the Nordic type of dance band. The music taste among our mechanics is really awful. Kygo, Avicii and U2 works well for me.

Reads: Never books, but I read about sports and economics.

Travels: Thailand or Marbella.

On my vacation: We have a house by Mjösa where I do some renovating.

About team mate Johan: He is tall. Extremely focused. The one I think can challenge Petter for the title henceforth. On rain he is without doubt the best in the world. Tough but honest. Incredibly fast verbally, just like his father.