Kiwi rally driver David Holder is staying in a cabin to save costs and just aiming to get to the end of Rally Sweden as he makes his debut in the Junior World Rally Championship.
The 2016 New Zealand Rally champion has managed to scrape together the budget to have a crack at the six-round JWRC championship as he hopes to advance his career internationally but has been thrown in at the deep end with the unfamiliar conditions in the Scandinavian winter.
Holder and co-driver Jason Farmer are not wasting precious money on five-star hotels. Instead, they are sleeping in a cabin to minimise the costs. A budget of around $250,000 is needed for the full series which sees him competing in identical Fords against a number of other Europeans more familiar with snow and ice.
"It is a bit surreal at the moment," Holder told the Weekend Herald. "It has been several months leading into this. I am pretty excited - we are both just happy to be here and learning the snow and getting the experience."
Holder's experience driving on snow is limited to going up mountains to skifields in New Zealand so he spent a day in Norway last week learning the basics on a frozen lake where there was nothing to crash into.
"Everyone talks about leaning on the snowbanks but that is something I am going to have to grasp," Holder said. "It seems pretty foreign doing that because the roads are really narrow and the banks don't look that welcoming to lean against but that is apparently how you do it.
"Being at the snow school gives me the approximate grip levels otherwise you go into this blind.
"I spent a day there basically working out what the limits are. Now it is a case of putting it into practice."
His aim is to just get to the end of the rally and learn as much as possible before taking a more aggressive approach on the gravel events that follow later in the year.
• Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon hasn't put his foot wrong in a visually spectacular start to his 2018 World Rally Championship campaign.
Paddon was seventh-quickest in the super special first stage of Rally Sweden in Karlstad, putting his Hyundai around the bespoke 1.9km course in one minutes 34.8 seconds.
Paddon controlled the vehicle adroitly in icy conditions under floodlights in front of a sizeable crowd.
"It's good to be back, a good way to shake off the cobwebs. Feeling good, feeling relaxed," Paddon wrote on social media.
"We will push tomorrow, hopefully we can be back near front fighting," he said.
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