Monday 19 December 2022

The journey of 15-year-old Einar Friberg: from sweeper to tyre manager.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kristoffersson Motorsport. 
A journey into the motorsport world usually begins with a career in karting, a wealth of experience in mechanics or a degree in engineering, but for 15-year-old Einar Friberg, it was a journey that started with a broomstick, and finished in him being five-time World Champion Johan Kristoffersson's tire manager. 

Being in the sixth grade, it was time for Friberg to get a prao place, and with the Kristoffersson Motorsport workshop, just a few kilometers from his home in Jössefors, it was an ideal opportunity for the young Swede. 

Born into a family with rich motorsport history and involvement, it was only a matter of time before Einar ended up in the world of motorsport. The family legacy began with grandfather Ove "Findus" Friberg who was a car salesman and rally driver, whilst his grandmother's father was the legendary "Sulviks-Einar", a master craftsman who designed his own cars. His father Erik also works in motorsport, and on Per Eklund's cars. 

Einar Friberg and Tommy Kristoffersson posing with the 2022 Polo RX1e door.
PHOTO CREDIT: Kristoffersson Motorsport
Kristoffersson Motorsport team boss Tommy Kristoffersson recalls Einar's first visit to the team, "He came here by car, and provided to be really willing to work."

Having been handed a broom, Einar dabbled in a bit of everything, as he mentions: "Among other things, I had to wash Johan's STCC car. After that I came back and worked during the autumn holidays and then every summer holiday. I've really tinkered with everything."

With the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS about to embark on a historic rallycross year (in 2022), with three newly built electric cars, Friberg was of course really keen to join the adventure. And, after showing his willingness to learn and gain experience. The Swede immediately got involved in pre-season races in Holjes and Strangnas. 

The 15-year-old then joined the team at the Holjes, Sweden test, and was given the tire management role. 

"When I heard Tommy read out my name as a regular team member, I got chills," Einar said.  "After that, we were going straight to Hell and I became the tire manager on Johan's car."

The now five-time world champion Johan Kristoffersson had the youngest tire manager in the world championship pitlane.

Johan Kristoffersson said: "It hasn't been noticed that he is (the youngest). It has worked great. I recognize myself a little in Einar. I was about his age when I myself started working in the team."

"It's not really that strange that he has worked his way up so quickly. He is constantly on the spot and wants to move forward, hanging over the shoulder of the more experienced mechanics to learn more. Then it is natural to move on to more advanced tasks."

Friberg admits that he left nothing to chance during his first major assignment.

"I put in just about as much work as I could, wrote down all the times, tried to keep track of the weather, checked the temperature of the tires and talked to Johan about how he wanted to prioritize," he said.

He handled the task flawlessly and for Johan the season started with victory. Before the next round in Riga, Einar, asked Tommy if he could come along there as well. To which, Kristoffersson asked, "are ready to be with the whole season?".

There was no hesitation from the team boss in that situation.

"Einar is fantastic. He's here first in the morning and last out here in the evening. He has started at the very bottom of the ladder and worked his way up. Despite his 15 years, he has become a very natural part of our team and is completely accepted by all the others," Kristoffersson said.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Cape Town, Lydden Hill, and Asia feature on e-xciting new-look 2023 World RX calendar

PHOTO CREDIT: Red Bull Content Pool
The FIA World Rallycross Championship will celebrate it's tenth season, with the series’ freshly-unveiled calendar featuring iconic venues, an intriguing new addition and the return of some old favourites including the fabled birthplace of the sport.

The ten-round 2023 calendar will see action get underway at Hell in Norway in mid-June, before moving to arguably the discipline’s most famous circuit – Höljes in Sweden – for the legendary ‘Magic Weekend’ at the beginning of July, which will mark World RX’s 100th round.

Three weeks later, the championship will return to Britain for the first time since 2019, with a summer sojourn to Lydden Hill, where rallycross was born more than half-a-century ago.

Classic Belgian track Mettet – is up next, followed by ever-popular Montalegre track, whose revised layout in 2022 generated some of the most spectacular racing of the season.

The final European stop on the schedule will be the Estering (Germany) in September. The characterful track has been absent from the calendar since 2018, and was the scene of one of the most memorable moments in World RX history, when Kevin Eriksson famously ‘sent it’ all the way around the outside and into the lead at the first corner on his way to victory in 2016.

Following the European leg of the season, the cars will be transported to Cape Town to do battle at Killarney International Raceway, in the shadow of Table Mountain. The last time the series set foot in South Africa, Timmy Hansen and Andreas Bakkerud thrilled fans with a sensational duel for the Drivers’ crown, which ended dramatic fashion, with Hansen ultimately coming out on top.

The season will conclude just over a month later at a yet-to-be-announced new venue in Asia, with details to follow.

"We are pleased to present the 2023 World RX calendar, which we believe represents the very best of rallycross and which has been the subject of a huge effort behind the scenes in recent months. It clearly looks slightly different to recent seasons, and we are delighted to finally be ‘spreading our wings’ and venturing outside of Europe again," Arne Dirks, Executive Director, Rallycross Promoter GmbH, said.

"Ever since taking over as promoter of this great championship, we have been committed to returning to Cape Town to showcase World RX in front of the enthusiastic South African fans, and we are hugely excited to be adding a new event in Asia to the line-up, which truly underscores the series’ World Championship credentials.

"At the same time, the re-introduction of three charismatic European venues in Lydden Hill, Mettet and Estering reflects our desire to celebrate rallycross’ rich heritage and traditions while embracing the sport’s electric future. Similarly, the large crowds seen at Hell, Höljes, Montalegre and Nyirád this year are testament to those circuits’ enduring appeal. We can’t wait to go racing!"


The WMSC has also announced a return to a more traditional racing format, with four heats for five cars maximum (where grids are decided by results of the previous heat), and semi-finals with six cars. This is a complete role reversal from the 2022 season, with Superpole being retained from the 2022 format.