The reigning FIA Junior WRC Champion is embarking on the next step in his career – Sweden’s Tom Kristensson preparing for a campaign in the FIA World Rally Championship’s premier support series as part of the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team.
Joining the WRC 2 category behind the wheel of his prize EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta Rally2, Kristensson will start his season on the asphalt roads of Rally Croatia before outings in Portugal, Estonia, Finland, Belgium and Spain.
Claiming three out of a possible four victories on his way to last year’s Championship, the Swede has proven speed on all surfaces with wins on snow, gravel and asphalt. And now, he’ll have an opportunity to hone those skills as part of the M-Sport family’s inner circle.
Fully integrated within the M-Sport Ford World Rally Team, Kristensson and new co-driver David Arhusiander will benefit from the same information as the top-flight drivers, and work closely with the squad’s experienced team of engineers to develop his knowledge whilst learning the complexities of strategy and set-up.
Tom Kristensson said:
“I am very happy and grateful that M-Sport has given me the opportunity to join their WRC 2 team. After securing the FIA Junior WRC Championship title we have worked extremely hard to get a plan in place for this year, and I’m extremely grateful to my partners and everyone around me who has made it possible for me to live my dream.
“It was always my plan to drive in the FIA World Rally Championship, and it feels great to see everything coming together now. As I’ve not competed in four-wheel drive car before, the first thing will be to get a feeling for it and to discover which settings are best for my driving style. There’s a lot to learn, but I’m in the best possible place to do that and really looking forward to the year ahead.”
M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
“For almost two decades we’ve dedicated ourselves to establishing an effective Ladder of Opportunity through which some of the world’s most talented youngsters can progress to the highest levels of competition. In recent years, the FIA Junior WRC Championship has been integral to this, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Tom develops as the latest youngster to graduate from this scheme.
“Over the past two years he’s had the benefit of some fantastic tuition from Maciej Woda and his team at M-Sport Poland. And now, it’s time for him to develop those skills further – joining Richard Millener and our technical team at the highest level of world rallying. Fully integrated into the team, he’ll have access to the same information as our lead drivers, and learn how to decipher this information and enhance his skills alongside our experienced team of engineers.”
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“It’s great to welcome Tom to the team and we’re looking forward to seeing how he develops over the course of the year. We’re constantly watching the FIA Junior WRC field to see who impresses, and Tom impressed from his very first season – claiming victory on his debut rally!
“He has proven pace on all surfaces with wins on snow, gravel and asphalt and we’re keen to see him develop those skills further. This will be his first outing with the Ford Fiesta Rally2 and there will be a lot to learn as he takes the first step into four-wheel-drive competition.
“He’s going up against an extremely experienced field, but his focus will be on learning and progressing throughout the year. And with rally winners like Andreas Mikkelsen, Esapekka Lappi and Mads Østberg all competing in the same category, there’s no better performance marker for him to assess that progress and ultimately aim for over the course of the year.”