Kiwi David Holder and co-driver Jason Farmer have successfully completed their first Rally Sweden finishing 11th in the opening round of the FIA Junior World Rally Championship.
“As I’ve said it was an incredibly challenging event, but we’re happy to finish it which was our main goal,” commented Holder. “After four visits over two days with snow banks (i.e getting stuck), we choose to drive very cautiously through today’s final stages.
“Unfortunately the snow banks are very easy to get stuck in, however fortunately they also don’t damage the car! Hats off to the front running guys in JWRC, they were ridiculously fast!
“It’s been a very positive experience and we know that the lessons learnt will prove valuable in the future….besides how often do you see a moose run across the road while touring!”
Dennis Rådström claimed a popular home town victory. Rådström, who lives in the rally base of Torsby, held off fellow countryman Emil Bergqvist to start his season on a high with a narrow 7.3sec success after four days of fast and furious action on snowy forest roads in Sweden and Norway.
Rådström moved ahead on Saturday morning, but could never relax as Bergkvist maintained strong pressure. They were split by 13.8sec going into Sunday’s short finale and Bergkvist sowed seeds of doubt in Rådström’s mind when he won the opening two speed tests.
He could not make it a hat-trick in the final test and Rådström steered his Ford Fiesta R2 over the podium to a warm welcome from his home town fans.
“It’s the best day of my life,” he said. “In the beginning, we only did our pace but today I got really nervous. Maybe not pressure, but I was nervous in some way. I hope we’ve shown the teams in the WRC our development and the step in our performance.”
Julius Tannert finished third, more than four minutes back after mechanics repaired a damaged radiator on the German’s car late last night to allow him to continue.
Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Franceschi was a further 9.5sec back in fifth with fellow countryman Terry Folb and Callum Devine filling the rest of the top six.
The series next moves to bumpy Mediterranean asphalt for the Corsica linea – Tour de Corse on 5 – 8 April.