King Kristensson wins 2020 FIA Junior WRC Championship

King Kristensson wins 2020 FIA Junior WRC Championship

06.12.2020: Tom Kristensson and Joakim Sjöberg have won the 2020 FIA Junior WRC Championship after a commanding victory on ACI Rally Monza, the final round of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship.


Tom Kristensson and Joakim Sjöberg have won the 2020 FIA Junior WRC Championship after a commanding victory on ACI Rally Monza, the final round of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship.

 


The Swedish crew took their third Junior WRC event win of the season, seeing Kristensson sign off his Junior WRC career with five event wins and eight podiums.
 


Kristensson takes home the biggest prize package in world-rallying, with free registration for WRC3 in 2021, five free WRC3 entries, 200 Pirelli tyres and a brand-new Ford Fiesta Rally2.
 


Flying Finn Sami Pajari and Marko Salminen earned themselves the 2020 Wolf Stage Points award, taking more stage wins than any other driver in the championship with 18 stage wins.
 


Pajari finished fourth on the rally, claiming the Rookie Award by finishing third in the championship and with it, €15,000 towards his 2021 FIA Junior WRC Championship campaign. For Pajari to win the championship he needed to push hard and take stage wins, which ultimately cost him his title aspirations, spinning into a building on the third stage of the rally and retiring for the day. He returned to action on Saturday and was able to recover to fourth, taking a total of four stage wins on the rally.


 
As has been the case on so many Junior WRC events, Kristensson delivered a supreme performance throughout the entire rally, with mistake-free stage times despite heavy pressure from his rivals early on. Martins Sesks came into ACI Rally Monza with a good opportunity to beat Kristensson to the title. Initially Sesks was breathing down Kristensson’s neck, just 1.6 seconds behind after three stages. His chances were slimmed down following a broken intercooler on Friday, losing a couple of minutes to Kristensson.
 


Kristensson went into Saturday with a comfortable lead, but the most difficult stages of the rally lay ahead of him while Sesks, with a two-minute deficit, needed to make up time on every stage to stand any chance of taking victory.
 


Initial split times on stage seven looked promising for Sesks, almost 30 seconds up after 14 km until disaster struck, sending his Fiesta Rally4 careering into a brick wall, crushing the back of the car and any remaining hopes of winning the championship. Although Sesks’ retirement meant all Kristensson needed to do was finish every stage ahead of him it was by no means an easy task.
 


Stage 11 saw some of the most difficult conditions ever in Junior WRC with snow covered roads and stud-less Sottozero tyres the Junior WRC crews rose to the challenge. Ruairi Bell took the stage win and in doing so delivered the best ever overall stage results for a Junior WRC car with 14th. Bell found himself third by the conclusion of Saturday behind Paraguayan Fabrizio Zaldivar who was on course for second successive podium.
 


Sunday’s stages returned to the famous Autodromo Nazionale Monza with three special stages separating Kristensson from achieving one of his lifelong dreams. The Swede did as promised, cruised to victory without making a single mistake to become 2020 FIA Junior WRC Champion.
 


Maciej Woda, FIA Junior WRC Championship Manager: “
I am so proud of Tom and Joakim, congratulations to them both, it is a fully deserved championship and I really cannot wait to see what Tom will do in 2021.



I say what Tom will do because Joakim has taken the decision to step back from co-driving as he wants to spend more time with his family which is a very admirable decision. Congratulations on ending your co-driving career on a high Joakim and wish you all the best for the future.


Sami Pajari really has impressed a lot of people this year and to take over one third of the stage wins available with tough competition is a great achievement to underline being awarded the 2020 Rookie Award. I want to give Martins Sesks a mention as well, he did everything he could to win the championship and took a big risk to claw back the time to Tom which earns my respect Rallying can be such a cruel sport as highlighted by his accident, I hope he returns next year as we could see a very interesting fight brewing for 2021!



Fabrizio Zaldivar delivered another well measured drive and to take two second places in a row in Junior WRC takes skill and commitment, it’s great to see just how much he has developed since joining us in Sweden 2019. Congratulations to Ruairi Bell too, he has really come into his own on this rally, taking a podium and going down in the history books for the best ever Junior WRC stage result.



Finally, I want to say a huge thank you to every single member of the team. This year has been hard for so many reasons but no matter what has been thrown at us and it could not have been possible without every single person involved, thank you.”
 




ACI RALLY MONZA CLASSIFICATION
 



1. Tom Kristensson / Joakim Sjöberg 2:35:21.4


“Totally unbelieve, the conditions on these stages meant we needed to stay totally focussed and we just did exactly what we needed to do to make it through. Now we are standing here as FIA Junior WRC Champions and it feels just amazing. I can’t find words for it, I couldn’t have imagined this four, five or six years ago.


If somebody told me that I would have just laughed at them and now I am standing here it is just unbelievable. I am so thankful for everybody that helps me, sponsors me, the companies who support me, it is just incredible. Thank you so much.”
 




2. Fabrizio Zadlivar / Rogelio Peñate +3m01.5s


“It’s been quite a good way to finish off the year with two podiums in a row. I did my first podium on a WRC event in Sardinia and now we have repeated the same position in Monza so maybe Italy likes me a little bit. We are really happy with that. We did some good improvements with my driving, not many words to say other than that I am really happy.”
 



3. Ruairi Bell / Darren Garrod +4m21.0s


“It feels very good, it has taken long enough, a podium on the last event and a couple of stage wins on the way. It’s been fantastic, I have really enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone that’s made it possible, it’s been fantastic. Final stages haven’t been doing me any favours whatsoever this year, the last two didn’t go well at all on this one it got red-flagged so I’m just going to take it and move on. I think that’s the best move anyway.”
 



4. Sami Pajari / Marko Salminen +38m04.9s


“It feels really good, it hasn’t been an easy season for me but there have been lots of things to learn and lots of things where I can be better in the future. Third in my first full season of Junior WRC is not so bad either so I need to be happy with this.”
 



RETIRED:

 
Martins Sesks / Renars Franics
Fabio Andolfi / Stefano Savoia
 



 SEB SCOTT- photos JWRC



 

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/king-kristensson-wins-fia-junior-wrc-championship-2020---217098.html

06.12.2020 / MaP

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