The Daily Life of Johan

05/12/2015 by Morgan Carlsson


Johan is blinded, suffers from distress and is awarded a personal driver.

”Before we went to Argentina I said that we would pretty safely secure the bronze medal if we avoided technical problems. It didn’t turn out that way. We had the speed, but got it awfully wrong in the qualifying heats.”

And it was a very special race in extremely dusty conditions.

”Already five cars into the training session it was too dusty to be able to see anything. I really can’t understand why they weren’t more prepared for this. After watering the track two heats were completed but then the sight was too bad. We often talk about the difficulties to see but this was really close to nothing. Driving wasn’t even fun. You were scared out there, especially considering the concrete foundations around the track. On my third lap I wasn’t aware of leaving the track until I felt the car sliding on grass. It must have looked as if we had never driven a car before – almost like the ’Worst Driver’ show on tv.”

The race day was cancelled and you had to restart on Sunday.

”After salting and watering it was okey for driving, at least the two first heat rounds, but at the start of the third qualification round it got worse again. ”

And in all this you had big problems producing fast races.

”In the first heat I was number three in the start and as I was in an early heat, times got better and better. In the second I was in the outside lane with no chance of finding a way in. In the third I made a mistake, hit a wall and got a puncture.”

Meanwhile Bakkerud was flying and your advantage had almost disappeared.

”It felt like we were losing grip of that bronze medal. The pressure on me was worse than on Solvalla in the STCC final when I had to win to secure the championship. But I was up to it for the fourth heat.”

Which was cancelled and only the first three qualifications counted, meaning that you were 13th, outside the semifinal.

”For the first time this year. But then Ole Christian had qualified and parked his car to give me the chance. There are some companies that don’t sponsor motorsport because it’s not a team sport but we are a big team working together and Ole Christian’s decision emphasises that fact, even though I’m the one steering the car that has won a medal in the World Championship. Ole was doing really well in a competition where he is not very experienced and I can only thank him for what he did to me. I hope that he also feels that I have given him good feedback about his car and for his development as a driver, during the season.”

In the semifinal you were starting at the back, but still almost made it to the final.

”That is something I’m satisified with, that I managed, despite all the pressure, to advance to third place. I got a good start, but from the second corner on I couldn’t see anything. Maybe it was stupid to keep full throttle when you are totally blinded by dust, but that comes to you afterwards.”

But you had Bakkerud right behind you.

”I didn’t know about that. I could see neither forward nor backwards. But I have seen from pictures that he was really close. Then I got it on the radio that he had crashed. But on the fifth lap my engine started misfiring and on the last lap it stopped. I had to ask on the radio whether Bakkerud was moving or not. But despite him retiring from the semifinal it wasn’t over. As he was the one gathering most points from the qualifying rounds he was first substitute for the final. It was the worst wait ever before I could conclude that all the cars started in the final. To sum up, it was the worst race day ever in my life, one hundred percent.”

Good for you that you got some days off in Buenos Aires then.

”30 degrees and sunny, really nice. Furthermore we met the guy who is the head of Volkswagen Motorsport in Argentina and he took us on a guided tour to a factory where the Amarok and the Souran are produced. He also knew a guy that took us to all the tourist attractions and the best restaurants in the city.”

While the others went back to Sweden you got off in Paris to attend the FIA prize award.

At the airport I got a surprise. VW Motorsport had sent a chaffeur and a Touareg to take me to the hotel.”

And as we speak you have just arrived in your room to get dressed for the ceremony.

”I guess shorts and hawaii shirt won’t be accepted there, ha-ha. I was really happy when my suitcase actually turned up at the airport. The others checked-in their luggage destined for Oslo and I wasn’t sure if the staff at the airport in Buenos Aires understood that my bag had to stay in Paris. Otherwise I would have to rush and buy a new suit. Now I will try to iron my shirt before I meet up with Pontus Tidemand and Emil Axelsson in the hotel lobby.”




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