Stéphane Sarrazin Remains with Subaru World Rally Team in 2006
The Subaru World Rally Team has announced that Stéphane Sarrazin will remain part of the team's driver line-up for the 2006 FIA World Rally Championship. The 30-year-old Frenchman will contest four asphalt rallies starting with the Monte Carlo Rally in January. In addition to his competitive duties, Stéphane will play a significant role in the team's 2006 Pirelli tyre test programme.
In his first full season at WRC level Stéphane proved himself to be one of the most accomplished sealed-surface drivers in the championship. He consistently set top-ten stage times on asphalt and was one of only two drivers able to match World Champion Sébastien Loeb for pace in his domination of the Tour de Corse. Stéphane equalled his best-ever WRC result of fourth overall at the same event.
"I am very happy to stay with the team," Stéphane commented, "It demonstrates their confidence in me. I proved that I can be as quick as the best drivers on asphalt and now I'm looking forward to converting the year's experience into strong results. Combining a rallying and testing programme is very good as I will be able to continue my development, however it will also be to the benefit of the team. We will work together to enhance the performance of the car and the tyres."
Subaru World Rally Team Technical Director David Lapworth added, "Stéphane is a very talented, professional driver and he has brought the skills he learnt in his career as a racing driver to rallying and proved he can compete amongst the very best in the field. His abilities both in competitive and testing environments will bolster the team's resources and he will play a major role in the development of the car and Pirelli tyre package. We have three very different drivers, but their skills and characters all compliment each other extremely well and I feel our line-up is second to none. Everything looks very promising for the 2006 season."
Subaru Manufacturer Principal Toshiya Azuma said, "We have been impressed with Stéphane's professionalism and performance this year and are pleased to offer him an opportunity to continue his development as a world-class rally driver within the team."