Next stop: the Czech Republic
The search for the next BFGoodrich Drivers' Team participant will begin in earnest shortly following the recent Belgium Ypres Rally.
Giving the opportunity for a rising star from selected countries to tackle their home event of the Intercontinental
Rally Challenge in a fully-funded Peugeot 207 Super 2000, the programme will continue on Barum Rally Zlin in August, after the Russian and Portuguese rounds have taken place.
Before then, however, representatives of tyre firm BFGoodrich, Kronos Racing (the company responsible for preparing the 207 S2000 used for the project), the Czech Republic's motorsport governing body and members of the Czech media will have to consider applications from various candidates before eventually selecting a winner.
Last year's recipient on Barum Rally Zlin, Pavel Valousek, finished fourth on the asphalt event. The pedigree of the candidates was demonstrated when Sebastien Ogier won the Monte Carlo Rally, this year's IRC opener, in January.
Since then, Thierry Neuville, who was selected to drive the car on the Belgium Ypres Rally, lived up to the strong reputation created by the BFGoodrich-backed drivers. Although he would ultimately retire from the asphalt event before the completion of Day One, he had run as high as fourth on his first outing in a four-wheel-drive car.
"The BFGoodrich Drivers' Team operation was once again a huge success with the local crowd," said the company's Jacques Morelli.
"Thierry's retirement no way calls his talent into question," he added. "He failed to finish but that's rallying."