Adielsson to double up with ERC Junior campaign
Mattias Adielsson will take on a dual role when he returns to the FIA European Rally Championship in 2019.
Not only will the talented Swede chase ERC1 Junior success in a Saintéloc Racing Citroën C3 R5, he will be an ambassador for his national federation to help develop the next generation of young talents.
Since impressing during a programme of ERC Junior rounds in 2015, Adielsson has worked tirelessly to build his competition experience – including several outings in R5 machinery – and funding. He has formed an alliance with the Swedish National Team and will serve as the initiative’s liaison between his young compatriots stepping up from national to international level in the ERC.
While ERC1 Junior – the category for young stars in R5 cars – will be Adielsson’s focus in 2019, he will also be a contender for overall honours and can count on the expertise of the Saintéloc Racing operation, which has enjoyed a strong run of success in the ERC with drivers such as Kevin Abbring and Craig Breen. The French team is also well versed in helping drivers with limited experience to develop through its Saintéloc Junior Team arm, which guided Stéphane Lefebvre to the inaugural ERC Junior crown in 2014.
“The ERC is a very good platform for drivers coming from grassroots level who are fighting for sponsors like me,” said the Gothenburg-based Swede, 27. “With the Eurosport television cooperation and good drivers, it’s an easy choice for me and my partners. There are special rallies with a great atmosphere and you are at the highest level in an R5 car, getting all the attention. When I first competed outside Sweden in 2015, I realised I needed a big back up to succeed, so we started working on this programme then to make what we have now possible. The 2019 season was the target and now we are here.”
Of his target for 2019, Adielsson said: “Obviously we are looking for the most points possible. I don’t have much experience of the R5 abroad but I’m a competition guy and I want to win. We won’t be pushing like hell to make good stage times on every stage and go off the road, we have a whole championship to do so we will have a good strategy. And we have a great car and great team with experience at all levels.”
Adielsson, who got his first taste of the Saintéloc Racing Citroën C3 R5 on last November’s Rallye du Var, will join forces with long-term co-driver Andreas Johansson for an outing on the SM-Sprint Vinter event on 1 February to kick-off his 2019 season. Broadcast on live TV, the event will give Adielsson his first taste of the C3 R5 on a loose surface and Johansson his maiden run in the car.
By registering for ERC1 Junior, Adielsson will be in contention to win 100,000 euros to be used on the ERC season-closing events in Cyprus and Hungary, which are outside the ERC1 Junior schedule. Depending on results earlier in the year, these two rallies could give him a shot at winning the overall title.
Jean-Baptiste Ley, the ERC Co-ordinator, said: “The ERC is very much unfinished business for Mattias, a talented driver who has been on our radar for some time. He showed a lot of promise in ERC Junior in 2015 but, unfortunately, didn’t get the results to back that up, despite his impressive speed. But the ERC has remained a key target, so he has gone away, worked very hard to build up a strong portfolio of partners and has aligned himself with the Swedish ASN and a top team in Saintéloc. It means that combined with his obvious ability, Mattias has all the ingredients in place for a successful 2019 season.”
Vincent Ducher, Saintéloc Racing Rally Manager, said: “It will be great to work with Mattias and Andreas. They have a good experience in R5 cars and the team has huge experience of the ERC. I’m sure we will do a great job together.”