Rally de Portugal
Van Merksteijn Motorsport is to make its debut this weekend in the Rally Portugal as official WRC Team in the prestigious FIA World Rally Championship. Peter van Merksteijn junior will be driving the Citroën DS3 WRC for the first time in a rally around Faro in the Portuguese province Algarve.
After an absence in the WRC of 14 months in the WRC, Peter van Merksteijn jr. will start on Thursday March 24th once again in a round of the World rally Championship. After having competed in various rounds of the WRC with a World Rally Car of the previous generation, he will switch to the completely new car developed by Citroën Racing, the DS3 WRC.
The 2011 WRC season is highlighted by the introduction of the new generation of World Rally Cars. The older car like the Focus WRC with which Peter jr. has participated in Portugal previously are no longer allowed by the FIA. The new WRC cars have a smaller turbo engine, 1.6 liter compared to the earlier 2 liter displacement, and has to do without many driver aids like adjustable differentials and changing gears with paddles behind the steering wheel. Because of the smaller engine and manual gear changes it is a lot more work for the drivers to set fast times on the special stages with these new cars.
Peter van Merksteijn jr. had only one opportunity so far to test with the new DS3 WRC. During his test he drove more than 150 kilometers in the French Vosges region where he got a very good impression about his ne rally car. A second planned test, last week in the south of France, was cancelled due to unexpected severe rainfall in the area of Perpignan. Despite this not ideal preparation prior to the Rally Portugal, Peter jr. has a good feeling about the car and is anxiously looking forward to his debut with the Citroën in Portugal.
Van Merksteijn Motorsport started a cooperation with Citroën Racing for the entry of a Citroën DS3 WRC for Peter jr.. This season, he will take part in 10 rounds of the World Rally Championship on behalf of Van Merksteijn Motorsport. With the entry of the Dutch team with the FIA as a WRC Team it will be eligible to score points in the Manufacturers Championship.
The WRC Rally Portugal will start Thursday afternoon with a short stage in Lisbon after which the competitors will head to Faro on the south coast of Portugal for the rest of the rally. Friday morning the 75 entries will depart for the first 6 special stages on the gravel roads north of Faro. After completing 17 stages and clocking 385 timed kilometers, the remaining teams will drive across the podium in Faro around 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Then we will know how well Peter van Merksteijn jr. has performed against the tough competition in his first rally in the new Citroën DS3 WRC.
-source: vm motorsport