IRC: BFGoodrich Drivers Team Monte-Carlo preview

Frenchman Sebastien Ogier chosen to represent the BFGoodrich Drivers Team on the 2009 Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo At the Paris headquarters of the FFSA (Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile) , Sebastien Ogier was today nominated to drive...

Frenchman Sebastien Ogier chosen to represent the BFGoodrich Drivers Team on the 2009 Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo

At the Paris headquarters of the FFSA (Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile) , Sebastien Ogier was today nominated to drive for the BFGoodrich Drivers Team on the forthcoming Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo (January 21-24). The Frenchman will take part in the opening round of the 2009 Intercontinental Rallye Challenge (IRC) at the wheel of a Kronos-run Peugeot 207 S2000.

The 2009 BFGoodrich Drivers Team programme will give drivers from five countries an opportunity to contest their home round of the IRC.

From the 75 applications received by the FFSA, an initial shortlist of five crews was drawn up by BFGoodrich and Kronos Racing. In the end, it was Sebastien Ogier who was chosen by a score of 11 votes cast by a panel comprising 16 representatives of the national media, BFGoodrich, Kronos Racing and the FFSA.

The BFGoodrich Drivers Team operation was launched in 2008, with a calendar of five outings organised by tyre manufacturer BFGoodrich, plus the logistical, technical and sporting assistance of Kronos Racing, and the support of the national motor sport governing bodies and car clubs concerned. The programme was a resounding success, both with competitors and rally fans, with more than 300 applications received and some outstanding results, including fourth and fifth places overall.

Sebastien Ogier, who has been chosen to fly the colours of BFGoodrich and Kronos Racing on the 2009 Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo, will compete in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 alongside the three other drivers run by the Belgian outfit, namely Nicolas Vouilloz, Freddy Loix and Kris Meeke.

Both the car and the BFGoodrich Drivers Team crew will be managed by Kronos Racing, the same team which took Sebastien Loeb to the World Rally Championship Drivers' title in 2006, and which helped Nicolas Vouilloz to secure the IRC crown in 2008.

"It's fantastic news," enthused Sebastien when contacted by telephone after the decision. "I wasn't expecting to be chosen, but I have to admit that it was a dream I had been nurturing! I would like to thank BFGoodrich for putting together this exceptional programme, as well as the panel for putting their confidence in me. I have no intention of letting them down."

A test session will be organised near Monaco on January 16 to give Sebastien a chance to familiarise himself with the Peugeot 207 and to talk him through the tyre range. The next step will be the start of the legendary Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo itself, on which he will be targeting a top finish!

Frederic Henry -Biabaud (Michelin Group Competition Director):

"I would first of all like to congratulate Sebastien Ogier on his nomination; it's a first class opportunity for the 25-year old youngster. The BFGoodrich Drivers Team programme is unique in the world of international motor sport, especially in this case since the event in question is the celebrated 'Monte'. The BFGoodrich Drivers Team was tremendously successful in 2008 and I am convinced it will be an equally emotional occasion this time round."

Alain Mahe (President Delegate, FFSA):

"I am very pleased that this BFGoodrich-inspired programme has chosen to take in France this year. I have to admit that we were a little envious of those European countries which hosted a fixture of the BFGoodrich Drivers Team's calendar in 2008. We are consequently delighted that our country is involved this time round, with a French driver, as well as with the fact that the Fede ration Francaise du Sport Automobile was involved in the operation. A formidable challenge awaits Sebastien!"

Marc Van Dalen (Team Manager, Kronos Racing):

"Given the exceptionally high standard of the drivers whose names figured on the shortlist, it was a very tough call indeed. In the end, the vote went to a very promising young driver who is none other than the defending Junior World Champion. His experience will help us to be competitive on the Monte Carlo which could well turn out to be difficult given the recent spell of wintry weather. Sebastien will be able to count on the full support of our team and on the competitiveness of his tyres to give it his very best shot--"

-credit: bfg

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