Karl Kruuda’s eleventh-hour victory in the WRC2 class of Rally Sweden took everybody by surprise – including Karl himself.
Here’s what the 21-year-old Estonian had to say about the rally that started with a costly diff problem but ended with champagne and 25 championship points.
Q: Karl, congratulations on your first win in WRC2, which was claimed on the final stage of the event. A very exciting finish! How are you feeling?
KK: “I have to say very good. I have never won a proper event before and for that I am speechless, actually, I couldn’t believe it or say the words that I had won. To win by 21 seconds is incredible.”
Q: You went into the final stage 18 seconds behind Jari Ketomaa, it must have been the drive of your life through the stage.
KK: “On the road section to the last stage I started thinking second place was better than nothing. I tried to keep the car on the road and thought to myself I would drive as the previous stage before. If something comes it comes if it doesn’t then maybe next time.”
Q: What was your reaction? You didn’t believe it…
KK: “There’s a good reason for not believing I had done it – the guy ahead! Jari Ketomaa was jumping up and down on his car. I said: “No, he has won!” When they said twice or three times then I began to believe it.”
Q: How difficult were conditions?
KK: “I have to say, no moments. The biggest down we had on the rally was on Thursday when we had driveshaft problems and lost the front differential. Because of that we did a spin and lost around two minutes. The main objective was to keep the car on the road and gather more experience for the future.”
Q: You’ve started the season with maximum points. How do you feel about the rest of the events?
KK: “Scared. There’s still a long way to go and this was the first event. Nothing is finished yet and there are still six events to go before the end of the season so we shouldn’t jump too far ahead.”
Q: Did you imagine you could win?
KK: “I thought the podium was realistic, but if everything went to plan then winning was an option. I didn't want to be cocky.”