Abbring, part of Volkswagen’s young driver assessment programme, is tackling a WRC event for the first time since he crashed in shakedown for Vodafone Rally de Portugal in late March.
He starts day two of Wales Rally GB in 15th overall and third in the Super 2000 division alongside Belgian co-driver Frederic Miclotte.
“I’m very happy to be back; absolutely delighted really,” said Abbring. “This rally has some very good memories from last year as it is the first one I did with Volkswagen Motorsport. It’s been quite a long time since I drove a rally car and it feels much longer. But we adapted to the conditions in a good way straight from the shakedown and it’s been fine since.
“Friday was a bit of a gamble: everyone expected rain to some extent but the conditions were much worse than I thought and so our car set-up was way too stiff. As it was just a remote service and we didn’t have the possibility to change the set-up much Friday was just all about survival really but I’m happy that we got the most potential out of the car as it is.”
Abbring has contested several rounds of the one-make Scirocco R-Cup, claiming a number of strong results in the process. “It was a really good experience and I enjoyed it a lot: it doesn’t matter what the car is, your objective is to go as fast as you can and adapt to a new situation. But at heart I am still a rally man, which is why it’s good to be back. This is only my third event on gravel in a four-wheel drive car so it’s just a question of taking one step at a time.”