Monday | 05 Jan 2015

New for 2015: WRC driver shuffle

Next to look forward to in 2015 is the chance to see new drivers in new cars:

3: WRC driver shuffle
While the end of every season is rife with speculation about which drivers are off where, at the start we are more concerned with seeing how the new boys will get on. And for 2015 there is plenty to to get excited about. The most significant change is the new line-up at M-Sport, where Estonian youngster Ott Tanak [pictured] will join Elfyn Evans - replacing Mikko Hirvonen who retired at the end of last season. There is change too at Hyundai, where Dani Sordo has been chosen as Thierry Neuville’s primary team-mate - a more stable strategy than last year’s rotation of drivers.
Bryan Bouffier will start the season back in a Fiesta World Rally car after outings with Hyundai in 2014. And of course at Rallye Monte-Carlo we will get to see if 14 months away has dented Sebastien Loeb’s competitiveness when he returns for a guest drive with Citroen.

Several big names from WRC2 will make the jump to the premier World Rally Car class at the opening round. Lorenzo Bertelli will introduce his new Fiesta-powered Fnucmatie team, and will go up against former WRC2 rivals Yurii Protasov and Sebastien Chardonnet. Only Chardonnet has driven the car on a WRC round before - and that was only once, two years ago.

There are graduates too in WRC2, which features three of the top-five from last year’s Junior championship: title winner Stephane Lefebvre (Citroen DS3 R5) third-placed Martin Koci (Ford Fiesta R5) and fourth-placed Quentin Giordano (Citroen DS3 R5). Joining them this year will be former WRC Academy and Super 2000 World champion winner Craig Breen, back for a full WRC2 season in a Peugeot 208 T16 R5.

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