*Swede begins first international campaign on Rally di Roma Capitale
*Asphalt adventure excites national junior champion
*Ex-motocross rider plans full ERC Junior U27 campaign in 2019
Sebastian Johansson will become the second driver to fly the flag for Sweden in the FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship when he makes his debut in the young driver training series on Rally di Roma Capitale from 20-22 July.
Johansson, 25, will join compatriot Tom Kristensson in the Pirelli-supported category, which provides the first step on the international ladder for drivers graduating from national level aiming for the top.
Based in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland, Johansson will drive a PEUGEOT 208 R2 under the JR Motorsport AB banner. Fellow Swede Jesper Elfver will co-drive.
“We have been driving in the Swedish Junior championship for three years now, we wanted to develop and ERC Junior Under 27 is the best step for us to take,” Johansson explained. “We are completely new on Tarmac so we don’t aim for a top ranking on Tarmac, just the experience and the kilometres. But on gravel I will be aiming for the top three.”
Johansson, who switched to rallying following a prolific career in motocross as an 18-year-old, hopes his ERC Junior Under 27 campaign this season will lead to a full attack on the series in 2019. The world championship is his ultimate goal.
“We are really pleased Sebastian has chosen ERC Junior for his first international programme,” said ERC Co-ordinator Jean-Baptiste Ley. “He’s proved his ability in motocross and rallying at junior level in his native Sweden. Now he has the chance to learn new skills by competing on Tarmac for the first time and building his experience of international events.”
In addition to JR Motorsport AB, Johansson will have the support of Ivisby Tryckeri AB and Lundins Bilpartner, plus his family and other long-term partners.
ERC Junior has been helping young drivers to learn, shine and climb in R2 cars on Pirelli tyres since 2014 with graduates including Fabio Andolfi, Emil Bergkvist, Jan Černý, Marijan Griebel, Nikolay Gryazin, Jari Huttunen, Chris Ingram, Stéphane Lefebvre, Łukasz Pieniazek and Julius Tannert.
Rally di Roma Capitale (Italy, asphalt): 20-22 July
Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic, asphalt): 24-26 August
Rally Poland (Poland, gravel): 21-23 September
Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel): 12-14 October
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