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.

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