Born in Arjang, Sweden, in 1980, Per-Gunnar Andersson became only the first driver ever to win the FIA’s Junior World Rally Championships twice, in 2005 and 2007, after competing in just five of the six events. This gave him a lot of experience in driving on front wheel driving competitions but when compared to the other drivers on the World Rally Championships’ level, Andersson, probably, has the least experience of driving a turbocharged, or four-wheel drive, rally car.
‘P-G’, as he is fondly known, started driving when he was just 15. He followed in the footsteps of his father who was a rally driver himself. His family home is right next to one the classic special stage runs which is part of Rally Sweden, on the World Rally Championships’ calendar. P-G’s career choice, however, has been more of a personal decision as his family’s business is more involved with building roads, than racing on them.
His motorsports career started in 1995, behind the wheel of a Saab 99. Gaining a lot of valuable experience, he shifted to a VW Golf in 1999 and this shift, along with his earned experience, enabled him to grab 12 local rally wins. In 2000, he participated in the Swedish National Championships and used a SEAT Ibiza Group N car. He won two events in the Junior category driving hard and fast. He idolized Jonas Kruse, who later became his mentor, helping him on his way to becoming the Group N champion in Norway and Runner-up in Sweden. He drove a Renault Clio for these wins that he accumulated in 2002. In 2002, for his first World Rally, he finished second in the two-wheel drive category while winning the 1600cc Group N class.
He drove a Renault Clio Super 1600 for the 2003 season and won the category for this car in the Swedish National Series. His performances in 2003 impressed the Suzuki team who called him up for the 2004 season for the Junior World Rally Championships. He made immediate impact with the Suzuki team and was in stone’s throw distance from the Drivers’ title. So he opted for some education. He realized the need to learn the art of driving on asphalt and headed out to Italy and the Vittorio Caneva Rally School before the final round of the Junior WRC. He managed second place in the last event of the year and won the Championship, as a result. He stayed on in the JWRC category through till 2007 but his journey was riddled with mishaps.
In 2005, two off road retirements greatly hampered his chances. A controversial exclusion from the Turkish Rally, for an infringement, occurred when he was leading his category. Despite vehement protests, the decision stood, denying him a chance to grab the title again. 2006 was no better but the sun was about to rise on 2007 when he stormed back to take the title again, in the Junior World Rally Championships.
Now, the promotion within the ranks means that P-G will drive in the World Rally Championships alongside fellow Swede, Jonas Andersson. The team will be hoping that he continues his display of the J-WRC into the WRC.
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