Fabio Andolfi will step up from his two-wheel-drive Peugeot 208 to pilot Hyundai's brand-new i20 R5 on the championship's next round, the Tour de Corse - Rallye de France (29 Sept - 2 Oct).
Currently contesting his second season in WRC 3, the Italian youngster has ambitious plans for the future, starting with progression to WRC 2 before his ultimate goal of becoming the first Italian to achieve a permanent factory drive in a World Rally Car since Gigi Galli.
Andolfi's likely move from an R2-spec Peugeot [above] to a four-wheel-drive Hyundai was reported by wrc.com in June, but the 23-year-old has insisted confirmation of his R5 debut still came as a shock.
“When I heard that this opportunity was coming my way, I was literally without words,” said Andolfi, who is co-driven by Manuel Fenoli.
“It’s the culmination of a dream for me, and I hope it’s the first of very many outings: the beginning of a new chapter for me. I realise that I have so many people to thank for this amazing opportunity: ACI Sport, Pirelli, Hyundai and everyone who has had faith in me. I know that I don’t have the experience of the other drivers, but I’m going to make the most of the great chance that I have.”
Andolfi will test the car, and the latest-generation Pirelli tyres he will use, the week before he takes the start in Corsica. During the rally, Andolfi will be able to draw upon experience gained on the event two years ago when he tackled it as part of the European Championship.