Portugal’s Bernardo Sousa has become the third driver in a fortnight to switch cars to one of M-Sport’s new Fiesta S2000s and sign up to next year’s inaugural WRC Cup.
Sousa, 22, will compete against former WRC works team drivers Janne Tuohino and Xevi Pons who have also registered for the FIA’s latest championship in identical cars. Sousa has tackled the Production Car World Rally Championship for the last two seasons, driving a Group N Mitsubishi Lancer in 2008, before switching to a Super 2000 Abarth Grande Punto in 2009.
The Madeira-born youngster finished 10th in the P-WRC this year, after failing to finish four of his six rallies – twice because of mechanical problems. Feeling he wasn’t going to get much more from his car, Sousa decided it was time for a change.
“I think everyone saw that the Punto wasn’t that competitive – at least not as much as we thought it would be at the beginning of the season,” Sousa told wrc.com. “If we want to try and get to first position we needed to change. The Punto hasn’t evolved, and it was the first to be built to the Super 2000 rules so we need to change it. I’m sure that the Fiesta is the best car on the market.”
Sousa’s Fiesta will be run by M-sport in 2010 – bringing an end to his association with the Italian Procar Rally Team which ran his Punto.
“With M-Sport and the Fiesta I think we’re going to be with the best team and the best car,” said Sousa. “I think this combination will help us achieve the best results. Also, it looks like Xevi Pons will be a new team-mate, and that’s going to be great. I’m sure we’ll get along very well, and having drivers like him in the team is good for the development of the car.”
Sousa’s WRC Cup programme starts with the first rally of the year in Sweden, and includes the rounds in Jordan, Portugal, Germany, France, Japan and Great Britain. “This will be my third year in the WRC and I hope that with a bit more experience I can get some top five finishes, and maybe some podiums on events we know a bit better,” said Sordo.
– Credit: http://www.wrc.com