Jimmie Österberg: “That’s what we need to take us to the next level”

Expected to be one of the favourites for the 2024 season at the wheel of his Pace Motorsport LiveLife chassis, Jimmie Österberg clearly hasn’t had a championship start to match his ambitions.

Indeed, after four races, the Swede is only 11th in the standings, with just one qualification for a final to his name ahead of the Älvsbyn event.

“Obviously the situation is a bit frustrating for me,” commented the driver with three wins and 11 podiums in his RallyX career.

“Even if not everything was perfect at Tierp at the beginning of the season, we knew that we’d need some time to find the right settings between the new TN11 chassis and our new Yamaha MT09 engine. Nevertheless, I’d say that our pace at Tierp, although not optimal, was quite good. Anyway, it encouraged us to do some testing before Kouvola and we could clearly feel the difference.”

And with good reason: after his team-mate Romet Tsirna set the fastest lap of Race 1 in Finland, the LifeLive driver was perfectly supported by his colleague Martin Juga, who showed a similar performance in Race 2 the following day.


This should give Jimmie Österberg some guarantees this weekend, even if Pace Motorsport still have some work to do to optimise the new TN11 chassis on the starts.

“Our speed has improved significantly at Kouvola and if you look at our performance on a flying lap, you can see that we’re not that far off. It’s true that we’ve made progress in terms of pure speed, but now we need to concentrate on our starts. We’ve already made some changes to the chassis to try and solve this problem, but it’s still not enough at the moment”

“This is especially true as with our Yamaha MT09 engines we were unable to compete with our rivals’ Suzuki GSRXs at Tierp and Kouvola, where we have a long straight on tarmac at the start. The Suzuki engines have more power at very high revs, so I have to admit that we were a bit off in this area. In fact, the only member of the Pace team to make good starts was Pasi Penttinen, who opted to stay with the Suzuki engine.”

While this third weekend of the season at Älvsbyn will allow Jimmie Österberg and Pace Motorsport to fine-tune the final details, it is really the management of the first few metres of the race that the Estonian team will have to focus on.


“What’s certain is that, apart from the starts, where we still have some room for improvement, we’re very happy with the performance of our chassis and engine on a flying lap. At Kouvola we were 11 drivers within 0.08s of each other after free practice. It comes down to the details”

“If you don’t get out in front in the first corner on every start, you know you can be way down the order at the end of a qualifying session. This year it’s more important than ever to get a good start. At the moment, that’s what we need to take us to the next level.”

As for his personal ambitions for the second half of the season, Jimmie is waiting for the weekend at Älvsbyn before making any pronouncements.

“I am 11th in the standings at the moment, so I have to be realistic. It will be difficult for me to fight for the title this year. In the medium term I hope to get closer to the top 5. To do that I’ll have to put in a series of good performances. For the time being I’m going to let this race in Älvsbyn pass and then we’ll see what our ambitions are for the rest of the championship.”

“I am not worried. In 2020 I was only seventh overall going into the last two races of the championship, but that didn’t stop me from coming back to second place. Nothing is over yet and with a bit of success we can still hope for an interesting result.”

Meanwhile, Jimmie will be looking to turn things around at Älvsbyn this weekend.

“I think this is the ideal place to show what we are made of. The last time I was able to race here was in the 2014 season. Suffice it to say that my memories are relatively distant. There’s a lot of gravel at Älvsbyn and that makes it a very old-school track. It’s very different from Tierp and Kouvola, where there’s a lot of tarmac.”

“Here we’ll have to be good in terms of traction. In a lot of the corners, we take the throttle on the gravel, so that should be to our advantage as this chassis was mainly designed for autocross. In other words, I think we’ll definitely be able to do well on this track.”