Sarrazin gets Subaru deal

Former grand prix driver Stephane Sarrazin's impressive switch to rallying this season has earned him a works drive with the Subaru World Rally team next year, where he will join Petter Solberg for at least half a season

Sarrazin gets Subaru deal

Sarrazin, who raced in one grand prix for Minardi, first tried out rallying in 2001 and his big break came last year when he earned a rally scholarship from Subaru France and the French motorsport association, the FFSA. He duly went on to win the French national championship and took three top-10 finishes in the WRC, including a best fourth place in Spain.

Although a definitive programme for 2005 has not yet been sorted out, Subaru has confirmed that Sarrazin will begin his year in January's Monte Carlo Rally.

"It's really a very big chance for me, after one year in rallying it's a great opportunity," said Sarrazin. "This year I pushed a lot to improve myself, to improve my driving and everything, and now it's just incredible to be in the official team.

"I will push the same as this year to improve, I will give the maximum I can, they give me a big chance, and because this team is the top team in the world championship it's exceptional."

Subaru team principal David Lapworth said: "We've been very impressed by what Sarrazin has done this year. It's remarkable that someone who has done 11 rallies and only three at WRC level can run at the pace he has.

"His approach is very professional, he's serious about everything he does and we're expecting to see the same sort of commitment when we look to broaden his experience onto other surfaces and other WRC rallies.

"Initially we've signed Stephane for one year but the intention of our development programme is to find a future world champion. We've selected him because we think he's got what it takes.

"Signing Stephane is another crucial step in our driver strategy for 2005 and the door remains open for other fresh talent to join him in the team."

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