Snow, ice and temperatures down to minus-ten degrees have greeted Mansfield co-driver Phil Hall this week for the start of the Junior World Rally Championships (JWRC) in Sweden.
Thirteen Ford Fiesta R2 drivers from across the world have gathered in Karlstad for Rally Sweden, which starts tomorrow (Thursday) and triggers five rounds of a competition designed to vault progressive, young stars into the top echelons of the World Championship proper.
Hall, 30, has joined fellow Brit Tom Williams, who is embarking on his second season in the JWRC. Hall has the benefit of a wealth of experience in the category and will soon start his fourth season in the main World Championship.
The itsmymotorsport.com backed co-driver is also no stranger to wintry conditions because, in 2016, he tackled the Arctic Rally in Lapland, alongside Japanese driver Hiroki Arai, guiding him to third.
Hall said: “I’ve had the benefit of events ranging from blistering heat in Australia to minus-30 degrees in Lapland, so this week doesn’t faze me too much.
“Tom and I have been flat out preparing for this season and we have been acclimatising to the conditions to ensure we can hit the ground running.
“We have worked well together, and we have a plan to push on a little more this season. The new Fiesta cars have only just arrived, so no-one has had many opportunities to test them.
“It will be interesting to see what the times are like after the opening day and it will be my job to try and get a measure of the pace we want to be at for the rest of the rally. A good start to the season will be important, so there is a little more pressure than last year.”
Rally Sweden is packed into 19 special stages, with 315km of competitive driving over packed ice and snow covered roads, spread across four days.