Taking on the Azores Rally
Conrad Rautenbach will make his Intercontinental Rally Challenge debut on Sata Rally Azores from May 7th to 9th.
Rautenbach, who drives for the Citroen Junior Team in the FIA World Rally Championship, will compete at the wheel of a Peugeot
207 Super 2000 run by the French PH Sport operation.
The Zimbabwean, a former FIA African Rally Champion, is keen to expand his experience of driving Super 2000 machinery. British co-driver Daniel Barritt will partner him.
"I've never competed in one of these cars before so I'm really looking forward to having a go in one," said Rautenbach.
"I've seen the guys driving Super 2000 cars on rounds of the world championship earlier this year and they sound awesome," he added. "Obviously it's going to take a while to get used to the lack of torque which we have from a turbocharged engine in a World Rally Car, but having come from a Junior car (1600cc non-turbo), a few years ago, I'm used to revving engines to get the most out of them."
The 24-year-old's agreement to compete in the IRC is currently for the Azores event only although he could enter further rounds later in the season.
"The immediate future of the World Rally Championship is going to be based on this type of car, so the chance to get in one and drive it now is invaluable - nothing compares with putting competitive miles on the clock when you're learning a new car," Rautenbach explained.
"At the moment, it's a deal for the Azores, but I'm hoping I can do some more rallies beyond this one. Let's see how this first one goes," he said.
Rautenbach added: "I'm really grateful to everybody at PH Sport who has helped to put this deal together - and I'm really looking forward to getting into the competition in the IRC. I've watched with interest this year how competitive the Monte Carlo and Curitiba rallies were, so the chance to get in there and mix it with those boys is great for me."
Rautenbach's CJT teammate Sebastien Ogier participated in the IRC's season-opener at Monte Carlo last January. At the controls of a Peugeot 207 S2000, he went on to take victory.