Ford Sweden supported driver Daniel Röjsel claimed victory on his four-wheel-drive debut last weekend when he took to the wheel of the Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta R5 at the LBC-Ruschen Rally in his native Sweden.
The youngster had planned to test R5 machinery this year, but the result was above anything he had dreamed – taking victory after only 40 kilometers of testing directly before the event.
The rally was based in Lima, a little village south of the Sälen mountains, and was held in wonderful winter conditions with hard-packed ice roads and one meter high snowbanks.
The rally is very popular not only for Swedish teams but for Norwegian drivers as well, and among the 210 entries where names such as Petter Solberg and Steve Røkland. In the four-wheel-drive category, there were 37 entries with top names from the Swedish Rally Championship included.
The rally was contested over five stages covering 87 competitive kilometers. For Röjsel, the plan was to start on the safe side and build pace over the course of the rally.
On the opening speed test, Röjsel posted the seventh fastest times, seven second adrift of the lead, and quickly increased his speed to take a maiden stage victory on the third speed test.
After the fourth stage, he was up to second place overall and just 0.7 seconds adrift of the lead. The last stage, which also was the longest at over 28 kilometers, would be a tense once. Röjsel controlled it brilliantly however, taking the win with a margin of over 11 seconds.
“This is just amazing,” said a delighted Röjsel after the event. “It’s actually hard to believe. I quickly found a very good feeling with the car during the test, but to win on my R5 debut with our lack of experience is just amazing.
“I was so impressed with the car. It was so much fun to drive and I can’t find the words to describe it. I just wished we could continue the rally for another five stages!
“This is definitely one of the highlights of my career so far. I have to say a big thank you to my family, team and sponsors who made this happen. I honestly can’t believe how happy I am right now!”
The team plan for more rallies with the Fiesta R5 when the gravel season gets underway. The main focus however remains firmly fixed on the Swedish Rally Championship which Röjsel will contest with his one-litre Ecoboost Fiesta R2 in the Junior category.
Image courtesy of Urban Jansson