Up-and-coming driver Emil Lindholm has been named this year's 'Future Rally Star of Finland' by AKK Sports, the promotional arm of Finland’s motorsport federation.
The 20-year-old Finn beat four other finalists, all front-runners in this year’s Finnish Rally Championship, to scoop the prestigious award, which comes with a fully-funded prize drive in the Junior WRC class at Neste Rally Finland (27 - 30 July).
As well as his skills behind the wheel, Lindholm has impressive family ties to the sport. His father is Sebastian Lindholm: a former Peugeot factory driver and the cousin of two-time world champion Marcus Grönholm.
Lindholm Jr follows previous winners of the award including WRC 2 star Teemu Suninen (2014) who will make his World Rally Car debut in Poland, and Junior European Championship frontrunner Jari Huttunen (2015).
“I’m very happy and very surprised as I certainly wouldn’t have said that I was favourite to win the prize this year,” Lindholm said.
“It’s a huge honour, because if you look at the other people who have won the Future Rally Star prize before me, they have gone on to achieve some great things. I really hope that I can follow in their footsteps. I’ve been driving for as long as I can remember, but this is definitely the biggest recognition I have ever had.”
Lindholm will prepare for his WRC prize drive by tackling the Junior WRC class at ORLEN 74th Rally Poland at the end of the month.
“I’m hoping that this will be a good test experience for Rally Finland,” added Lindholm, who is co-driven by Tomi Tuominen: a former WRC factory team navigator, who used to sit alongside Toni Gardemeister.
Neste Rally Finland promoter Jani Backman, who has been involved in the scheme since it was inaugurated in 2014, said: “We selected Lindholm based on his speed and the skills he showed in the Finnish Rally Championship. On top of that, he was also the most complete package, without any major weaknesses.”