14 Jan 10
This year's FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship (S-WRC) has attracted a better quality entry list than any other championship or international series for this type of rally car.
That is the claim of Marc de Jong, the man responsible for the commercial development of WRC support championships, who told wrc.com the take up for this year's inaugural competition within the WRC was 'fantastic'.
"The S-WRC has a very strong appeal because it is the championship of the future," explained de Jong. "These are the cars that are going to dominate the WRC of 2011, because S-WRC cars form the basis of the next generation of World Rally Cars."
The FIA has already confirmed eight entries for the 2010 series, after the first registration deadline passed last week. But de Jong believes this number could increase to 12 by the final cut-off date of 9 April.
Reigning FIA Junior World Rally Champion Martin Prokop (Ford Fiesta S2000) is one of the biggest names to make the switch to the Super 2000 contest. He will be joined by 2006 Junior Champion Patrik Sandell (Skoda Fabia S2000) and 2006 P-WRC Champion Nasser Al-Attiyah (Ford Fiesta S2000).
Also on the FIA list are last year's J-WRC runner-up Michal Kosciuszko (Ford Fiesta S2000), former P-WRC drivers Eyvind Brynildsen (Skoda Fabia S2000) and Bernardo Sousa (Ford Fiesta S2000) and former WRC manufacturer team drivers Janne Tuohino and Xevi Pons (Ford Fiesta S2000).
"I'm aware of about four others who are close to signing up and confirming," added de Jong. "If all goes to plan, I expect we will have between 10 and 12 entries. In the first year of a championship like this that is a fantastic number."
Skoda and Ford are the only two manufacturers represented in the entries so far, but de Jong is expecting entries from other marques to follow. "I know that Peugeot, Abarth, Proton and MG drivers are among those looking to get into the championship," he added.