Theo Johansen: “There’s no need to rush”

After competing in three RallyX races in the Junior CrossCar category last year, Theo Johansen has decided to step up a gear by confirming his participation in the entire 2024 championship.

His two attempts last year in Nysum and Grenland both ended with an elimination at the end of the qualifying heats, but the 14-year-old Norwegian clearly has no intention of giving up.

Having won last year’s NEZ championship ahead of some well-known names from the RallyX championship, Theo Johansen can rely on a wealth of experience in the CrossCar category.

“My father bought me my first go-kart when I was 7 years old, and from the moment I took the wheel for the first time, I immediately fell in love with motorsport,” recalls the Elverum-based driver.

“However, even though I loved those early experiences, we never had too many opportunities to drive seriously, either due to lack of budget or time. This changed two years later when my father introduced me to CrossCar. Immediately, with the help of my fantastic sponsors, we were able to swap our go-kart for a CrossCar”.

Despite finishing third in the 2019 Danish championship, Covid-19’s health crisis put the young Norwegian’s aspirations on hold.

“After our top 3 in the Danish championship, we had made the decision to move up to the higher category in 85cc, but due to Covid-19 I was only able to do two races and a few test sessions that year, before experiencing the same scenario in 2021.”

“In 2022 I was finally able to enjoy a normal season. It was my last attempt in the 85cc class, but I had to settle for eighth place in the Danish Championship at the end of a campaign in which I didn’t have much success”.

But that didn’t stop Theo from making a comeback in 2023. In his first season in the junior category, he managed to win the title of Northern European Champion, while also taking his first steps in the RallyX championship.

” I got to know this new machine as well as the RallyX championship and I can’t hide the fact that I was very surprised by the level of competitiveness in the junior class. It’s really tough and the gaps between the drivers are extremely small. These three RallyX races have shown me that I need to improve my consistency.”

“Even if I manage to be fast on a flying lap, I still make too many small mistakes to repeat those lap times lap after lap. It’s the mastery of these little details that I still lack if I want to reach the level of the best drivers in this championship. Nevertheless, despite major engine problems, I managed to win the NEZ championship title last year, while finishing fourth in the Norwegian championship.”

For Theo Johansen, the decision to focus on the RallyX championship is a logical one.

“I want to prove to the RallyX community what I’m really capable of behind the wheel of a CrossCar. I’m aware that it’s a very big challenge, but it’s one that I’m willing to take on by competing against the best drivers in this championship.”

However, the 14-year-old Norwegian doesn’t want to get ahead of himself.

“The goal is to qualify for as many semi-finals as possible and take part in a few finals. I want to use this 2024 season to learn and gain experience. I know I have a long way to go, so there’s no need to rush.”

“This winter I’ve been trying to prepare as much as possible by doing a lot of simulator driving. I’m also working on my physical condition with a personal trainer – Sindre – who is none other than my sponsor. I’m also making sure that I’m mentally prepared, because I have to admit that I’ve sometimes found it hard to trust myself over the last few seasons.”

As you can see, Theo Johansen leaves nothing to chance…