WRC

J-WRC: Rally Catalunya: Red Bull preview

GASSNER JR LOOKS TO BUILD ON ASPHALT PROGRESS Fresh from one of the best performances of his life at the Rallye de France at the start of this month, up-and-coming German driver Hermann Gassner Jr, backed by Red Bull, is aiming to put himself on...

GASSNER JR LOOKS TO BUILD ON ASPHALT PROGRESS

Fresh from one of the best performances of his life at the Rallye de France at the start of this month, up-and-coming German driver Hermann Gassner Jr, backed by Red Bull, is aiming to put himself on the map once more on the Rallye de Espana this weekend.

Spain's round of the World Rally Championship is running in a mixed format for the first time this year, with Friday held largely on gravel prior to two all-asphalt days on Saturday and Sunday. This unusual layout will allow the 21-year-old former German Champion to show his adaptability against some of the toughest opposition in the world.

Once more, Gassner and his co-driver Kathi Wustenhagen will drive a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX, which is prepared by Raimund Baumschlager's BRR operation. All Gassner's rivals tend to have more modern cars, but this has not put the young German off. This year, he is entering selected rounds of the World Rally Championship in order to measure himself against the quickest Group N drivers out there. He's not had much testing and he's lacking in experience compared to the others. But so far, Gassner Jr has shown great potential.

"I'm here to learn so the car is not so important," said Gassner Jr. "Having said that, it is prepared to a very high standard by Raimund's team and this allows me just to concentrate on driving so that I get as much as I can out of each individual event. Spain will be unusual this year, but as a rally driver you have to be prepared for everything, so I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Gassner Jr has already shown that he is capable of setting stage times to rival the established frontunners when the circumstances are right for him, and this will be his aim again as he contests the last two rounds of the World Championship this year.

Baumschlager added: "Hermann drove in France and now he will be in Spain again on asphalt, so he is beginning to build up the time in the car that he needs, which is the most important thing for a driver at his level. As well as the actual driving, Hermann has made some other important changes in the way that he works, with the pace notes for examples, and this will be very valuable for his future."

The Rallye de Espana, based in the holiday resort of Salou, features 344.88 competitive kilometres over 16 special stages. The action gets underway at 0730hrs local time on Friday October 22 with the final podium at 1510hrs on Sunday October 24.

-source: red bull

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