ÅHLIN’S COMPASSION SEES HIM AWARDED ‘SPIRIT OF THE FIA WRC ACADEMY’ ACCOLADE IN FINLAND
The third round of the FIA WRC Academy season at Neste Oil Rally Finland may not have finished as Fredrik Åhlin had envisaged as a huge roll on the first day of competition – which also, heart-achingly, marked the youngster’s 21st birthday – put an untimely end to his rally. But the Swede still went home with something having been awarded the ‘Spirit of the FIA WRC Academy’ award for his compassion and benevolence in the lead-up to the event.
Completing a pre-event test in his Ford Fiesta R2 near Säffle in Sweden, the youngster invited a special guest and co-driver for the day – 12-year-old Gabriel Seger from Smedjebacken, Sweden. Suffering from a terminal muscle disease, Seger had one dream – to sit in the navigator’s seat and experience life as a rally co-driver. This was a dream which Åhlin was more than happy to help come to fruition.
The pairing navigated some fast and technical roads in Säffle and enjoyed grilled burgers and discussions about Åhlin’s rally career in-between tests. Undaunted by Åhlin’s speed behind the wheel of his Fiesta R2, Seger even requested a ‘much faster’ run.
Speaking after the test, Fredrik Åhlin said:
"When I first heard about Gabriel [Seger] and his rally dream, I didn’t hesitate for a second. Of course Gabriel should sit alongside me at the test.
"When we were both properly seated with safety belts, I drove a few laps at a relaxed pace. I looked at Gabriel and saw his smile and I asked him if everything was OK, and if I may have gone too fast? Gabriel said that everything was OK and that I could drive faster – much faster! Then a smile spread across my face too and I pressed the pedal to the floor!
"I have to say a big thank-you to Gabbe as this was something very special for me also!”
Supported by Ford Racing in Europe and with control tyres from Pirelli, the WRC Academy continues with the fourth round of the season at the 2012 ADAC Rallye Deutschland on 24-25 August, where the competitors will get their first taste of asphalt.
Source: M-Sport Ltd.