Tom Kristensson won the FIA Junior WRC Championship category at Rally Sweden on Sunday afternoon in his maiden appearance.
The Swede delighted home fans by steering his Ford Fiesta R2 to a comfortable 1min 31.2sec victory on the four-day snow and ice event, the opening round of the five-rally series.
Kristensson made an instant impact after stepping up to world level from the European Championship, in which he won the under 27 junior category last season.
He moved to the front on Saturday afternoon when longtime leader and fellow countryman Dennis Rådström crashed out while holding a commanding advantage. Kristensson took no risks in Sunday’s short final leg to seal a convincing victory, despite winning only one of the 19 speed tests.
“I had a plan and stuck to it. The biggest point for me was not to make any mistakes. I found the right pace and remained calm and although there were some moments, it feels great now. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season,” said Kristensson.
Fellow rookie Poom finished 2min 38.0sec clear of Spain’s Jan Solans, brother of 2017 champion Nil.
Britain’s Tom Williams took a career-best fourth ahead of Sean Johnston, while Martins Sesks recovered to sixth after retiring on Friday with a mechanical problem.
Rådström eventually finished eighth after restarting today and netted a big haul of bonus points by winning 12 of the 19 tests.