Italy driver report: part 1
Our thoughts on the form and fortunes of drivers in Sardinia?
The 19-year-old [above right] wins a fully-funded drive in July's Neste Rally Finland after a two-day assessment where his reconnaissance and pacenote-making skills, mental strength, physical fitness and communications skills were put to the test under the watchful eye of industry experts and a five-person jury.
“It was a big relief when I heard that I had won, because I felt quite a big pressure on me!” said Nordgren, who hails from Markku Alen's home town of Karkkila.
“I have been rallying for only two years, so I did not have so much experience but I just tried to do my best all the time. Even if I had not won, it would still have been a fantastic experience as we learned so much and had to push ourselves very hard.”
It will be Nordgren’s debut in the WRC and he will be following previous Future Rally Star of Finland winners, including 2014 winner Teemu Suninen, and Jari Huttunen, who triumphed last year.
“This is a really fantastic opportunity for me now and I want to make the most of it,” added Nordgren, who will drive a Citroen DS3 R3T car and be eligible for the JWRC category.
In readiness for his WRC debut, Nordgren will get a one-day test in the Citroën and driver training from Jukka Korhonen and Matti Rantanen, both of whom have showed plenty of speed in Finland in the past.
Jani Backman, [above left] the Neste Rally Finland promoter who was involved in deciding both previous award winners, said: “In the end, it wasn’t such a difficult decision. Juuso impressed all the judges with his performance in each one of the tests.
"Of course, there was a very high level, which is always the case with this award. But I think we knew that Juuso was looking strong from quite an early point, so of course we have high hopes for him.”