More teams register for manufacturer points

Elleven teams eligible for the World Rally Championship for Manufacturers

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By www.wrc.com

22 February 2011 - 18:06
More teams register for manufacturer

The total number of teams eligible for the World Rally Championship for Manufacturers has increased to 11, the sport’s world governing body, the FIA, has confirmed.

Eight teams - two fully-fledged manufacturers and six WRC Teams - had registered to chase makes’ championship points ahead of Rally Sweden earlier this month. However, that figure now stands at 11 after the Brazil World Rally Team, the Petter Solberg World Rally Team and Van Merksteijn Motorsport from the Netherlands all signed up.

Although the Brazil World Rally Team will break cover on Vodafone Rally de Portugal in late March using a Super 2000-specification MINI, it won’t be eligible to score manufacturers’ points until Rally d’Italia Sardegna in May when, as expected, lead driver Daniel Oliveira makes his debut in the all-new MINI WRC. That’s because teams must use World Rally Cars to qualify for the manufacturers’ championship.

Petter Solberg’s eponymous squad was in action in Sweden when Solberg scored a fifth-place finish on the back of three outright stage wins in a Citroen DS3 WRC. However, delays firming up Solberg’s deal for 2011 meant he was not registered for the manufacturers’ championship in Scandinavia, although that won’t be the case from Rally Guanajuato Mexico onwards when Solberg will battle it out for makes’ points as well as drivers’ points.

Ken Rees, who runs the Petter Solberg World Rally Team, explained why the squad had registered. “We’re still a self-funded privateer team but very professional at the same time,” said Rees. “The prestige attached to being a manufacturer team is very important for our sponsors. We’ve been playing with the big boys for the last two years now and it’s high time we took that next step and went up against them properly.”

Van Merksteijn Motorsport is the final new addition to the ranks of WRC Teams for 2011, which now stands at nine. The Dutch operation will field a Citroen DS3 WRC for Peter van Merksteijn Jr on 10 rounds starting in Portugal. The car will be run in conjunction with the factory Citroen Racing team, which is based in Versailles on the outskirts of Paris.

With the deadline for registering as a WRC Team not until 26 April, it’s possible that other outfits could yet enter.

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