Kuipers had planned to contest a full roster of WRC events in 2012 but has been unable to secure the necessary funding to be an ever-present in the series. The Dutch driver hopes that a strong result on the gravel event will lead to renewed interest from potential backers.
“For now Portugal is a one-off but I hope to do some more of course, at least six or seven,” Kuipers told Wrc.com. “A good result in Portugal will be important for this but it will not be easy because I have not driven [a Ford Fiesta RS WRC] since [Wales] Rally GB [last season] and I won’t have the opportunity to do any testing. That will be difficult for finding the rhythm.”
Kuipers will link up with a new co-driver for Vodafone Rally de Portugal, the Belgian Robin Buysmans, following Frederic Miclotte’s decision to join forces with Kevin Abbring for 2012.
“I was with Robin for my test before Rally GB last year, we also did a practice rally in Holland, which we won, although it was in a Subaru Impreza WRC,” said Kuipers. “But he has good experience and winning the rally in Holland has given me good confidence.”
Kuipers finished 12th in last season’s WRC drivers’ standings, claiming a best finish of fifth on Rallye de France - Alsace.