‘Game-raising’ driver strategy for Hyundai
Trio of Neuville, Sordo and Paddon for 12 rounds
The Ukraine driver will tackle the season-opener in a Citroen DS3 WRC run by the Italian D-Max Racing squad and plans to finalise what could be a substantial schedule soon after.
Protasov drove 12 rounds last season as he mixed a WRC 2 campaign with three outings in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
He finished fourth in WRC 2 after leading the standings until Rally Italia Sardegna in June, and was 11th at both ADAC Rallye Deutschland and RallyRACC - Rally de España in the World Rally Car.
Protasov will test the DS3 WRC near Gap on 17 January and hopes Rallye Monte-Carlo will be the start of a busy season.
“Our objective is to keep going forward and grow up as a crew,” he said. “We have received an interesting offer to start the season with the DS3 WRC. This project has big potential. We begin with Monte-Carlo and hope that everything will be OK.”
This will be D-Max’s first WRC event and Protasov’s programme supervisor, Luca Pregliasco, said the Italian squad was perfect for the Ukrainian’s next career step.
D-Max boss Max Beltrami is excited by his team’s WRC debut.
“I believe Protasov has great potential and his WRC 2 win at last year’s Rallye Monte-Carlo is boosting expectations. Our team is working hard to become the right alternative to existing WRC teams,” he said.