James Hanson has signed to partner Rickard Rydell in Prodrive-prepared Volvo S60s in this year's European Touring Car Championship, as predicted by AUTOSPORT magazine
Hanson drove an Edenbridge-run, BMW 320 in last year's ETCC Super Production class, and his knowledge of the European circuits was one factor in Prodrive and Volvo's decision to place him alongside Rydell, the 1998 BTCC champion.
"Hanson is a young driver with a huge amount of potential," said Dave Benbow, Volvo team manager. "In 2001, in his first year in touring cars, he managed to outperform his far more experienced team mate and achieve a third place in the last race at Jarama, beating the eventual champion, Peter Kox, in a works BMW. Prior to this he had already proved he had the talent by winning Rookie of the Year in the US FF2000 Pro Series."
Hanson drove Prodrive's prototype Volvo S60 back in December, but his first full test in the car will come at Vallelunga in the Michelin ETCC tyre test which begins today (Friday), where he and Rydell will share driving duties.
"Last year I had great support, however, the Prodrive and Volvo combination has really raised the game for me in terms of the level of support and commitment," said Hanson. "I now have a fantastic opportunity to drive a full works car in a full works team with one of the most successful businesses in touring car racing.
"And while I maybe the new kid on the block, I also believe my experience of the ETCC and Super Production cars will help the team, particularly through the first few races."
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