TOM KRISTENSSON JOINS WRC2 AS A FACTORY DRIVER FOR M-SPORT FORD WORLD RALLY TEAM
After months of hard work, all the pieces are in place which means Tom Kristensson will be competing in WRC2 for british M-Sport Ford World Rally Team in a Ford Fiesta Rally2-car.
The first rally for Tom and his new co-driver David Arhusiander will be the Croatia Rally on the 22nd to 25th of April.
– I am very happy and thankful for getting the opportunity from M-Sport to race for the team, says Tom.
– 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! says team principal of M-Sport Richard Millener.
– 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, Millener explains.
– 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 World Rally 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, says Malcolm Wilson who is the managing director of M-sport.
In WRC2 teams compete with the backing of factories or as independent teams which are approved by FIA.
A Rally2 car is four wheel driven, which is the second highest ranked class in WRC according to FIA-classifications. Engine power, handling and brakes are of the highest quality.
– It's been tough months of hard work since the victory in JWRC at the start of december, but my plan has always been to compete in WRC, that's why it feels great to have gotten this far, says a very happy Tom.
– Getting a budget for the seven rallys, which I'm planning on driving, has been the toughest with a lot of meetings and interactions with companies and individuals. Then there's been all these little practicalities around it all which has been like trying to control chaos, Tom says with a smile.
– I am extremely thankful to my partners who believe in me, an understanding employer, and people around me who help me fulfill my dream.
– 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, Tom explains, as there are many more settings now than when he was driving his Ford Fiesta Rally4 car in JWRC.
Tom's opponents in WRC2 are some of the very best. Last years world champion in WRC2, the Norwegian Mads Östberg and his fellow country man Andreas Mikkelsen, both of them have a lot of experience in WRC-cars. There is also Toms future teammate, the Frenchman Adrien Fourmaux but also the Swede Oliver Solberg.
The plan for the 2021 season is to drive in Croatia and then on to Portugal, Estonia, Finland, Belgium, Spain and possibly Japan.