*Swede secures ERC Junior Under 27 step-up for 2018
*Rally Liepāja class victory underlines potential
*Kristensson: “I will do my utmost to justify the trust put in me”
Tom Kristensson will step up from national level to international competition for the first time when he embarks on an FIA ERC Junior Under 27 Championship campaign in 2018.
Kristensson, 26, is the winner of the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup in Germany and will progress to ERC Junior U27 next season in an ADAC Opel Rallye Junior Team ADAM R2 after he convinced a judging panel that he is worthy of the opportunity on the back of his title triumph.
The Swede’s move marks the continuation of a successful alliance between ADAC, Opel and ERC promoter Eurosport Events, which began in 2014 and has unearthed talents such as Emil Bergkvist and Marijan Griebel – ERC Junior champions in 2015 and 2016 respectively – and Jari Huttunen, who challenged for this season’s ERC Junior crown, finishing runner-up to Chris Ingram.
Kristensson, who put the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup title beyond doubt with second in class on ADAC 3-Städte-Rallye in Germany last weekend, demonstrated his potential as a contender for top honours in 2018 after he won the RC4 class on Rally Liepāja – the closing round of this year’s ERC – earlier this month in an ADAM R2 co-driven by countryman Henrik Appelskog.
ADAC Sport President Hermann Tomczyk said: “The European championship titles by Emil Bergkvist and Marijan Griebel, as well as the vice-championship by Jari Huttunen in this year's FIA ERC Junior U27, underlines the consistency of the joint support concept of ADAC and Opel. I am convinced that Tom Kristensson has the ability to continue this success story.”
Opel Motorsport Director Jörg Schrott said: “Tom has been very consistent throughout the season, has made very few mistakes at a high level, and has earned the title in the ADAC Opel Rallye Cup. In the European championship in Latvia, we were able to learn about his enormous abilities on gravel.”
Tom Kristensson, who will chase the 100,000 euros career progression fund for an ERC Junior Under 28 Championship assault in 2019, said: “Every young rally driver dreams of the giant chance to be on the road on the international stage. The fact I’ve fulfilled this dream makes me happy. But I’m well aware of the tremendous trust that Opel and ADAC have put in me. I will do my utmost to justify this trust.”
Jean-Baptiste Ley, ERC Co-ordinator at Eurosport Events, said: “We’re very pleased to welcome Tom Kristensson to FIA ERC Junior Under 27 as he begins his first international campaign following his step up from a national championship. His performance on Rally Liepāja was very impressive and makes us all very excited for next season as ADAC and Opel renew their long-standing commitment to ERC Junior.”