Sebastien Chardonnet (France), Victor Henriksson (Sweden), Sergey Koryakin (Russia), Philipp Knof (Germany), Christian Riedemann (Germany) and Calle Ward (Sweden) have all secured entries for the six-event series, which uses identical Ford Fiesta R2s prepared by M-Sport and run on Pirelli control tyres.
It means 18 drivers have now registered for the WRC’s new training category, which is limited to 24 spaces and gets underway on Vodafone Rally de Portugal at the end of March. A restricted budget of approximately 135,000 Euros has been introduced to make the WRC accessible to more drivers around the world than ever before.
Riedemann, who took part on six world championship events last season, said: “Participating in the WRC Academy is the only chance in the 2011 season to drive again on international soil and came at a really convenient time. Certainly my aim is to win the competition even though I know that there will be many strong competitors. But I have a new co-driver, Michael Wenzel, who has already taken part in WRC events with Niki Schelle and Uwe Nittel [in the past].”
Sebastien Chardonnet, who graduates from the French Citroen Racing Trophy, added: “For me, it’s a big challenge because I will represent my country and also because I’ve never driven a gravel rally before, so I will have to work a lot before the first rally to be competitive from the beginning to the end of season.”
Miguel Baldoni (Argentina), Alastair Fisher (United Kingdom), Egon Kaur (Estonia), Yeray Lemes (Spain), Miko-Ove Niinemae (Estonia) and Jose Suarez (Spain) confirmed their participation in the WRC Academy last month.
The six Pirelli Star Drivers for 2011, Fredrik Ahlin (Sweden), Craig Breen (Ireland), Jan Cerny (Czech Republic), Andrea Crugnola (Italy), Brendan Reeves (Australia) and Molly Taylor (Australia), were confirmed as WRC Academy participants in late 2010.