Andersson, a double Junior world champion, is a newcomer to the Strasbourg-based round but will take the start on Thursday buoyed following a successful pre-event test in his PROTON Satria Neo S2000.
“After all the gravel we have driven on this year, it will be interesting to get to the first real asphalt round,” said the Swede. “We know the car has good pace on this surface and our pre-event test went well,” explained Andersson.
Following his victory on the previous round in Wales, Ireland’s Craig Breen is only eight points adrift of leader Andersson. He’s revved up for more success in his Ford Fiesta S2000: “Rally GB has given me a huge amount of confidence and our win has put us right back in the championship battle.”
Equal second with Breen in the title race is New Zealander Hayden Paddon, last year’s Production Car world champion. The Skoda Fabia pilot has endured a tough run of late but has what it takes to hit back. “We did 50 kilometres of testing in Austria and the Skoda felt amazing on Tarmac, almost like a go-kart,” said Paddon. “I was able to get to grips with it very quickly in tricky wet conditions and the team management were really happy with our speed.”
Representing Poland, Maciej Oleksowicz will be looking to add a third SWRC podium to his tally. The Fiesta pilot is fourth in the standings with 65 points, one place ahead of Saudi Yazeed Al-Rajhi who continues to impress in his Fiesta Regional Rally Car.
Former Production Car world champion Andreas Aigner completes the entry in the second factory PROTON, his debut in the class and his first start at world level since 2008.