No pressure, says Sebastien number three

Young French star gears up for World Rally Car chance on home soil

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By www.wrc.com

25 September 2012 - 21:51

Sebastien Chardonnet insists he’s not under any pressure to perform on Rallye de France Alsace next month despite sharing his name with two of his country’s best drivers.

Chardonnet, 23, will compete against Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier in a Citroen DS3 WRC on the FIA World Rally Championship qualifier in Strasbourg from 4-7 October. He will run under the Colectif Equipe de France Rallye with support from the French motorsport federation, the FFSA, for what will be his first appearance in the WRC in a World Rally Car.

“One of the things that people ask me most often is whether or not there is any pressure in being a French rally driver called Seb and it’s true that there is a lot to live up to with Seb Loeb and Seb Ogier, but it’s really not something I think about much: I am still very early in my career and have everything to do,” said Chardonnet, who geared up for Rallye de France by finishing third overall on Rallye Vosgien, a national event in his homeland last weekend.

“For France we’re making our debut in the Citroen DS3 WRC, which is going to be a fantastic adventure and I’m very grateful for all my sponsors and partners who have helped to make this possible. We’re going to be part of the Equipe de France FFSA on the rally and this is a big privilege for me.”

Chardonnet, who started his career in karting before trying out single-seater and GT racing prior to his rallying debut in 2009, is a protégé of Loeb’s co-driver Daniel Elena. He also receives guidance from ex-WRC regular Simon Jean-Joseph.

“He’s a very good young man who has a lot of talent and Rallye de France will be a big opportunity for him in the World Rally Car,” said Jean-Joseph. “The main thing is that he just relaxes and enjoys himself, there is no point in thinking of anything more.”

Elena said: “It is important to take thing one step at a time, because there is so much a young crew has to take on board. At the same time, you can’t afford to miss a chance - and this is a golden opportunity. Sebastien and Thibault [de La Haye, co-driver] need to keep their eye on the ball, stay focused and forget the pressure.”

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