Staffan Parmander, who partnered Sandell on Rally Sweden last month, has stepped down due to commitments to the Sweden World Rally Team, which is supporting Sandell’s WRC campaign, and will be replaced by the experienced Maria Andersson.
“I have really felt young again now that I drive with Patrik in the past year,” said Parmander. “So it is regrettable to have to step aside in Portugal, but right now I'm forced to. But I am very happy that we found this solution with Maria. I have full confidence in her, given all the experience she has from the World Rally Championship in the past.”
Andersson is best known for her appearances alongside Patrik Flodin in the Production Car World Rally Championship. She has also partnered Anders Grondal and Andreas Mikkelsen in the past.
“We have known each other for many years, ever since she started competing with Flodin so on a personal level I know it will work,” said Sandell. “She has more experience in Portugal than what I have. We get three days together in the car before it’s time for the recce in Portugal. It's more than I did before with Staffan and Rally Sweden last year so I’m sure once we start it work great.”
Sandell and Andersson are due to test in Portugal this Friday prior to tackling the Fafe Rally Sprint event on Saturday 24 March. Vodafone Rally de Portugal takes place from 29 March-1 April.