07 Jan 09
Rautenbach's year of learning is done, the Zimbabwean ready to flat out for 2009; Ogier the reigning Junior champion and natural successor to the other Sebastien and Novikov, Russia's most talked about teenage sensation. It's going to be awesome.
South American rally fans have nothing to worry about this season, either. The Munchi's Ford World Rally Team, led by Federico Villagra will be back again. And those fans of wicked car control on the stages and a classic sense of humour between them will be glad to see the bright orange Ford of Henning Solberg returning for another year. This will be the Norwegian's third campaign in an M-Sport built and run Focus.
And while the Subaru factory squad will be absent from the Service Park this year, the Japanese manufacturer will still be represented on the stages by the new Adapta World Rally Team. Based in Norway, and run with Prodrive assistance, Adapta will enter at least eight rounds this season with one Impreza for rising star Mads Ostberg and the likelihood of a second car for another top line driver. Who that will be, we don't yet know, but there are plenty of options.
Seven days into the New Year and a handful of star drivers are yet to announce their plans. After a dramatic few weeks we're still waiting to find out where 2003 world champion Petter Solberg will surface. But we're expecting news soon. Having missed the deadline for a place on Rally Ireland, the Norwegian is desperate to squeeze in an entry on his home rally in February. We're also waiting to hear from Francois Duval, P-G Andersson, Toni Gardemeister, and the now fully mobile Gigi Galli. Rest assured we'll keep you up to date with developments on wrc.com...
Not long now, though. Round one can't come soon enough - and not just for the new overalls!