Meeke: ‘Monte master Loeb will put up a challenge’
‘He’s not nine-times world champion for nothing!’
Bertelli is close to securing a Fiesta RS World Rally Car for all 13 rounds from M-Sport, the firm that supplied him with R5 and RRC specification Fiestas for the past two seasons. The move represents a meteoric progression for the 26-year-old, who tackled his first WRC2 campaign in 2012.
Bertelli told wrc.com that the decision to jump to the sport’s top level was influenced by a looming obligation to work for the Prada fashion house, run by his mother, Miuccia.
“I don’t think I have many years ahead of me where I can enjoy the sport because I will have to work in the family company,” he explained. “So I must take my rallying seriously. It is not a joke for me.
“This year we improved a lot and okay, some people said it would be better to stay and try and win WRC2, but I prefer to raise the target. It’s the hardest way but I think the most interesting and challenging. I like challenging myself a lot.”
Guiding Bertelli through next season will be experienced co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini, who this year partnered Nasser Al-Attiyah to the WRC2 title. Bernacchini was drafted in last week when Bertelli’s former co-driver Mitia Dotta quit to take up a job in Moto GP.
The pair will drive together for the first time in December at a test for next year’s opening round in Monte Carlo. His results there, and over the rest of the season, will determine his plans for 2016.
“I will measure myself against the other Fiestas and will see what will happen. If I start to see that my results do not improve rally-by-rally then perhaps I will stop at the end of next year. But if I see I improve quite a lot, then we will look at 2016. There is no precise target. It is all about the improvement.”
Despite being in the unusual position of being able to set his own performance targets, Bertelli denied he would have an easy ride.
“It’s a different kind of pressure,” he said. “Okay, it may look easy from the outside because I have the money. But the pressure I put on myself is high because I must prove it’s not about the money, it’s about my skills as a driver. And I need to do that quite quickly.”