Wrc.com will be publishing profiles of all drivers and co-drivers taking part in the all-new training category during the next few days. Here is part one of the class of 2011.
Date of birth: 17 October 1988
Co-driver: Thibault de la Haye
Born in Paris but now living in Cannes, Chardonnet was a successful kart racer before he switched to rallying in 2009. Of the eight rallies he started in 2010, he won his class on six of them and never finished outside of the podium. He completed his season by finishing ninth overall on the European championship-counting Rallye Antibes. When he’s not competing Chardonnet renovates apartments for resale on the French Riviera.
Date of birth: 30 July 1988
Co-driver: Daniel Barritt
Fisher’s exposure to rallying came at a young age: his late uncle Bertie was an Irish rallying legend and his cousin Mark had made his WRC debut before their untimely death in a helicopter accident in 2001. Fisher’s own career began in 2005 and has produced several significant results both in two- and four-wheel-drive machinery. He will combine his WRC Academy bid with his university degree in construction, engineering and management in his native Northern Ireland.
Date of birth: 2 September 1990
Co-driver: Henry Wichura
Knof began his competition career in karting as a six-year-old. He proved his ability as a rally driver when he won the Junior section of the German Volvo Cup in 2009, when he also claimed the Junior Gravel Cup crown. He took the main German Volvo Cup title the following season and will make his WRC debut in 2011 when he aims to follow in the footsteps of his hero and countryman Walter Rohrl, world rally champion in 1980 and 1982.
Date of birth: 20 August 1987
Co-driver: Roger Penate
Lemes emerged as a star of the future with an impressive drive on his WRC debut in Spain back in 2007. Although a mechanical failure ended his challenge back then the Canary Islands resident would return for a full Junior World Rally Championship campaign in 2010, which he completed by winning the JWRC section on RACC Rally de Espana. Lemes, who works for his family business in his native Lanzarote, was inspired to take up rallying by double world champion Carlos Sainz.
Timo van der Marel
Date of birth: 28 August 1989
Co-driver: Erwin Berkhof
With backing from the Dutch motorsport association KNAF’s Talent First initiative, which helped Kevin Abbring and Hans Weijs Jr break onto the world stage, van der Marel joins the WRC Academy highly regarded. His rallying career began in 2008 and his debut at world championship level followed in Germany that same season when he took victory in the N3 class at the wheel of a Renault Clio. He lists Tommi Makinen as his all-time rallying hero.
Follow this link for more information in the WRC Academy drivers’ section.