What on earth does table tennis have in common with rallycross? Well, in the past few weeks I have played far more ping pong than I have driven cars. The purpose is to train my reactions and concentration to be an even better rallycross driver. And it’s pure fun too!
In the world of sport it is stated that one must train on what you want to succeed in. 5-6 minute per ping pong set with full concentration and reaction speed as well as taking lightning fast decisions is an activity I am convinced that will make a positive contribution for my World Championship campaign. Just last week I played with a team colleague for a total of 6-7 hours.
Of course it’s all about a hobby more than trying to win the World Table Tennis Championship title too. In my early rally career I was subject to a strict training regime in Subaru. We practiced for hours a day and used everything from weights to running, cycling, boxing, tennis and basic strength training in the gym everyday.
I’ll admit that my training fervour has diminished somewhat over the years, but still I train consistently. After two seasons in rallycross my team and I have concluded that reaction and concentration are key elements. To respond rapidly to the green start lights is essential, and strong focus all the way through a whole race weekend is absolutely necessary.
We concluded earlier in the season that such training is important. That’s why I now play 4-5 times a week of table tennis with a team mate. We play game, set and match (10 set x 3) and keep on going between 1 and 2 hours per session. It will be interesting over time to see whether I notice any response. I believe in the theory. Also, it is really fun to play ping pong and to win!
In addition to table tennis, I am out several times a week on the ATV with my son Oliver and occasionally with Pernilla. A few weeks ago the whole family were out on a fantastic ATV safari back home where we challenged ourselves in forests, thickets, marshes and cliffs. THAT is what I call quality time with my beloved ones!
‘Game, set and match’ is not on my lips when it comes to the FIA World RX Championship. It’s way too early. Admittedly, I am leading the championship with 28 points, but before this weekend’s World Championship round of Germany only two-thirds of the season is done. Four races remain, leaving 120 points still to be awarded. I notice in my body as well as in my mind and my surroundings that it’s starting to get really interesting.
Tactically we have been smart for a long time. To continue to collect important World Championship points, there is no reason to change our strategy. We go for the top finishers in each heat, semi-finals and finals, but without being desperate for victory in every single race. I feel very comfortable with the plan that my team and I have made trying to win the first ever World Championship title in rallycross.
We are well underway, but it is far too early to begin to think about anything but the next race. When we only have Argentina left, I’ll sit down and look carefully at what will be needed. Now I only think about the RX of Germany. Then the RX of Italy next weekend. Furthermore, Turkey two weekends later.
Three times we have won World RX races this year. The confidence is high in the whole PSRX Team. But it’s very important to remain realistic. One weak performance turns everything upside down again. Or an engine failure, a crash, mechanical trouble, punctures at inopportune times. A lot can happen, and I must be prepared for anything.
It’s all about being smart and waiting for the right opportunities to go Flat Out. Race victories mean very little if the pursuit of them leads to DNF’s. If I find it too hard to win some races, I’d rather run risk free into a 2nd, 3rd or 4th place. Trying just a little too much could make you end up in a ditch.
Although I think differently when it comes to tactics now, there’s one thing that will never change about me: I will grab every shot at a victory with both hands if they present themselves.