We had a chance to talk with a rising Norwegian rally star – Karl Peder Nordstrand 🙂
The Baltic States are a unique place where very young rally drivers can drive a real rally even though they do not yet have a driver’s licence. This path through Latvia and Lithuania has been taken by K.Rovanperra, O.Solberg and many other promising rally stars. With the help of EVEN Management, a young man from Norway – Karl Peder Nordstrand – is now taking these steps. And very successfully, to say the least: he won rallies in Latvia and Lithuania already being only 16 years old. He tells us about his rally career.
Tell us your story – how did you end up in motorsport?
I think everything started at home. As long as I can remember I have driven several cars, snowmobiles, and ATVs on my field at home. I also remember I used to drive an indoor go-kart at an early age. My dad was a co-driver in the national championship home in Norway, and I have been on several rallies with him, as well as freezing my balls off in the woods at -25c😉. And that’s maybe why I fell in love with the rally. As fast as I was 6 years I asked my dad to do Crosskart. So in the 2014 and 2015 seasons, me and my dad went to Denmark to start as early with competition as possible. I went on to win both seasons, and after that, I took the steps through the crosskart categories.
How did you become part of EVEN Management?
A day around the summer of 2019 I saw that EVEN Management was searching for young talents, I sent in a LONG text about why I was a good candidate for a place in the team. I got a meeting with them, and after convincing my now boss Roy Snellingen, I was reviled as 1 of 4 drivers in their next-generation program. After doing well in sim-racing and cross-car during 2020 and 2021, with a European championship total podium, I got my chance in the rally.
Perhaps you can clarify how structures like EVEN Management help? What responsibilities they have? And what responsibility do you have for them?
EVEN Management helps me with how to work as a top athlete to reach success in rallying. We work tight together every day. They have the competence after all the drivers they have had😊 They also help me finance the driving, as well as I have to bring part of the budget from my partners!
There are some famous names in EVEN Management – O.C.Veiby, E.Lappi, J.Kristoffersson. Did you have the opportunity to learn from them?
Absolutely! As I have mentioned we work tight with everyone, especially O.C. Veiby, and Johan are easy to work with since we live quite close together.
Your first official rally was in Cesis in 2022 with the Peugeot 208 R2. How did you feel before, during and after the rally? Was it enough for you to understand that rallying might be the right thing to do?
Rally Cesis was special for me! We took it a bit easy, and we are still trying to get the experience we need to get to be the best. The feeling before the rally was special, a feeling you just get the opportunity to feel a few times in a lifetime! During the rally, we just wanted to finish, but in the end, we did a decent rally with a podium. I think after that I understand rally more and more. We have raised the pace more and more, and I think we now are in a good position in terms of pace and experience with no retirements.
How is your family involved in your career? Is your family petrol-heads?
In my family its only my dad who share the same interest as me. My dad’s uncle did some folk race, and as I have heard he was quite good. I have also mentioned my dad was a co-driver and he also did some European championship rounds in Super 1600 in 2010,2011 and 2012. At the moment my dad helps me get around on training with crosscar and go-kart. He also visits some rallies, but he enjoys just watching at this point.
How do you cope with having to travel so much at a young age?
Traveling is not a problem for me personally at this point. The hardest thing is the school, and I have to do school on trips, but the school I’m going to is very willing to let me do my things. It’s an athlete school, so they are used to taking care of these situations.
You seem very natural, lively in front of the camera and communicating with others. Are these your natural traits or something you have learned during your career?
If you watch videos of me from when I was young, you can see it was quite natural hehe. I like to share my honest thoughts with the people, as well as being kind to the ones enjoying rallying!
The team behind your car is Sports Racing Technologies. How important is it to have such an experienced team behind you? How is your relationship with them?
It’s a key factor to do what we are supposed to. We want to finish all races, and with 0 DNFs together it has worked out very well. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone at SRT for a lovely season together. They are real heroes, and the kindness inside the team warms my heart.
Can you tell us something about the rally scene in Norway? Do you plan to drive some Norwegian rallies when you have the opportunity?
At the moment we have no plan for a rally debut in Norway. Strict rules are the main reason. I think we have to go outside Norway again to do a new season of rallying. I also think it’s not that necessary because of no international rallies in Norway at the moment.
Jørn Listerud, who takes on the role of co-driver, is very experienced. How did he end up in your car? What part has he played in your development as a driver?
We actually were thinking of co-drivers at the start of the season. We took some phone calls and heard about Jørn. Jørn is a proffesional man. He is what we need! He is hungry, and that’s what we need. I want to take care of him, and his role in my development is important to me.
If there were no racing in the world, what would you like to do in your life?
If there was no racing in our world, I would most likely go to electric school. I have thought about it, and making an electrician company would be my second choice. A pretty simple second dream, but I like to make things, and make success, so why not do it that way?
Next year you still won’t be able to compete in FIA championships due to age restrictions. What are your plans for next year? Is the Lithuanian championship one of the options?
We are looking into the options for next year, but nothing is set for next year. I would like to do some in Lithuania, and the atmosphere in Utena was amazing! But as I said we have to see what options we have, and it all depends on money, and who will let me drive where. But I’m sure we will manage to do something!
Photos – K.P. Nordstrand Facebook page, Vilius Šaltenis