S-WRC: Title hopefuls join the party in Mexico

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By www.wrc.com

28 February 2010 - 19:47
S-WRC: Title hopefuls join the (...)

Rally Mexico counts as the second round of the FIA’s inaugural championship for Super 2000 cars and marks the start of campaigns from several drivers tipped to win this year’s title.

Topping the list of new arrivals is 2006 Production Car World Rally Champion, Nasser Al-Attiyah. A long time Subaru driver, Al-Attiyah, from Qatar, won January’s Qatar International Rally at the wheel of a Fiesta S2000 and had been expected to use the same car in his S-WRC campaign.

Two weeks ago, however, having secured backing from the Volkswagen Group, he switched to a Skoda Fabia S2000. The car will be run by the Rene Georges team, which also runs a similar car for Eyvind Brynildsen,

Seeded behind Al-Attiyah on the entry list is Polish driver Michael Kosciuszko, who will start his first WRC event at the wheel of a Ford Fiesta S2000. The 24 year old has contested the J-WRC for the last three seasons, most recently with a Suzuki Sport Swift S1600. Last year the Pole had his most successful season to date; winning two rounds and finishing the title battle in the runner-up spot.

Former Citroen and Subaru factory team driver Xavier ’Xevi’ Pons is another S-WRC newbie and another to be driving a Ford Fiesta S2000. The Spaniard will drive for a new team headed by Luis Moya, the former championship winning co-driver.

Pons will have a head start over most competitors in Mexico because he tackled the rally in 2009, when it didn’t count as a round of the WRC. Along with Dani Sola, Pons represented Spain in the substitute ’Rally of Nations’. Driving Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IXs Pons and Dani Sola took the trophy home with them after winning ten of the rally’s eighteen stages.

Andorran Albert Llovera is the final newcomer to the S-WRC competition in Mexico and will drive a Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000 built to a unique specification. A former professional skier, Llovera represented his country at the 1984 winter Olympics before an accident in the European Skiing Cup the following year later left him confined to a wheelchair.

Using cars adapted with hand controls, Llovera took up rally driving soon after and this year will attempt a full season in the S-WRC.

Of the six S-WRC drivers to have nominated Mexico in their 2010 campaigns, only two - Martin Prokop and Eyvind Brynildsen - tackled the opening round in Sweden. Prokop lies third in the S-WRC standings with a total of 15 points, while Brynildsen is fifth with 10 points.

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