Andrea Torlasco chosen to contest the Rallye Sanremo for the BFGoodrich Drivers Team Last Friday in Udine, Italy, some 100km from the magnificent city of Venice, 24-year old Andrea Torlasco was selected to defend the ...
Andrea Torlasco chosen to contest the Rallye Sanremo for the BFGoodrich Drivers Team
Last Friday in Udine, Italy, some 100km from the magnificent city of Venice, 24-year old Andrea Torlasco was selected to defend the BFGoodrich Drivers Team's colours on September's Rallye Sanremo (September 25-27), the eighth round of the 2008 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
The BFGoodrich Drivers Team operation is proving extremely popular in Italy and no fewer than 133 applications were received for the drive by the country's nationalmotor sport governing body (CSAI).
BFGoodrich and Kronos drew up an initial shortlist of five finalists before 14 representatives of the Italian media, BFGoodrich, Kronos and the CSAI (Commissione Sportiva Automobilistica Italiana) ultimately picked out Andrea Torlasco who scored seven votes. He finished ahead of Simone Campelli (six votes), Piergiorgio Deila (two), Davide Medici (two) and Sandro Sottile.
Andrea Torlasco will drive the car for the first time on September 22 during a test session near Sanremo which the journalists who voted will be invited to attend.
The BFGoodrich Drivers Team gives selected crews from five countries (Portugal, Belgium, Czech Republic, Spain and Italy) a unique opportunity to contest their respective home rounds of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge). All applications are carefully examined with the help of the national governing body of the country in question and an initial shortlist of five drivers is drawn up by Kronos Racing and BFGoodrich. The next phase gives the local media a chance to vote for the driver of their choice.
Andrea Torlasco, who was selected to contest the Italian round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in the BFGoodrich-backed, Kronos-run Peugeot 207 Super 2000, will join forces with the team'sresident drivers Freddy Loix and Nicolas Vouilloz.
The car and the BFGoodrich Drivers Team driver will be in the care of Kronos Racing, the same Belgian operation which took Sebastien Loeb to the World Rally Championship title in 2006.
"The news came as a huge surprise for me," said Andrea Torlasco on the phone after the vote. "I had no idea I would be chosen, but I'm absolutely thrilled! I would like to thank all the journalists who voted for me. BFGoodrich has decided to give me a unique opportunity to compete in a major international event. They can rest assured that I will do all I can to figure at the sharp end of the Rallye Sanremo leaderboard."
The young Italian will be able to familiarise himself with the Peugeot 207 S2000 and the potential of his BFGoodrich tyres during a test session near Sanremo, Italy, on September 22, before going on to contest the Rallye Sanremo later the same week.
Marco Ferrari (CSAI President):
"This is a unique opportunity for an Italian driver to defend his national colours on an international event. I am very pleased with the way this three-way collaboration between BFGoodrich, ourselves and the local media has gone. The BFGoodrich Drivers Team programme is an extremely innovative and ambitious project."
Marc Van Dalen (Team Manager, Kronos Racing):
"I can only applaud the final choice. The BFGoodrich Drivers Team operation is going from strength to strength and there were 133 applications from Italian crews to represent BFGoodrich on the Rallye Sanremo. That's a hugesuccess in itself.
"Andrea Torlasco is 24. If you compare that with the age of the selected driver in Belgium, Patrick Snijers (50), it couldn't be more apparent thatthis scheme really is open to everybody. The media here in Italy were able to choose from a very varied shortlist of five finalists.
"I have no intention of putting Andrea under any pressure, but Snijers finished fifth overall in Belgium, while the driver chosen to fly the BFGoodrich Drivers Team flag on the recent Barum Rally Zlin in the Czech Republic came fourth, so the pattern is clear-- We will do all we can to provide Andrea with the means to score the best result possible. The pre-event test session will enable him to familiarise himself with the Peugeot 207 S2000 and he will also be able to sample the full range of BFGoodrich tyres which will be vital to help him make the best choices once the rally starts."
Frederic Henry -Biabaud (Competition Director, BFGoodrich):
"I am very pleased with the choice the Italian journalists have made. The BFGoodrich Drivers Team programme will be giving a 24-year old driver his chance in Italy, and that'sa unique opportunity at international level. On top of that, the rally in question is the famous Sanremo.
"This operation is a chance for BFGoodrich to underline its commitment to rallying by supporting drivers in several countries. I would like to express my gratitude to the CSAI, the Sanremo organisers and our local BFGoodrich staff for their respective contributions to the success of the programme in Italy where we received a record number of applications. I am looking forward to seeing the encouragement Andrea Torlasco gets from the Italian rally fans are big connoisseurs. I wish Andrea the very best of luck."