Volkswagen is continuing to prepare for its entry in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2013 with two young drivers: The German Sepp Wiegand with Dakar winner Timo Gottschalk as co-driver and the Dutchman Kevin Abbring with co-driver Lara Vanneste will compete for Volkswagen Motorsport at the Wales Rally Great Britain (10–13 November).
The Volkswagen factory team is again sending two Fabia S2000 cars of the VW Group's Škoda brand across the starting ramp in order to evaluate the young talents and, concurrently, gather valuable findings at the gravel rally around the Welsh capital of Cardiff. In 2013 Volkswagen will start to compete in the top rally series with the Polo R WRC that is being developed in parallel.
"The Wales Rally Great Britain is one of the most challenging events in the World Rally Championship. The fast gravel tracks, narrow forest trails and the unpredictable weather have made it a classic. Therefore, it is a must for our team to experience this rally in competitive conditions,”says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen."At the same time we're giving two young drivers the opportunity to get to know our team and to show their skills. Sepp Wiegand is very young but has already caused a sensation on numerous occasions. Kevin Abbring has a little more international experience but also has to adjust to a new car and a new environment. Both teams have our full support.”
Sepp Wiegand only switched to rally racing last year. Prior to making the change the 20-year-old German from Saxony was successful on two wheels in Motocross and Enduro sport. In the current season the automotive mechatronics specialist from Zwönitz in the Ore Mountains has achieved several class victories in the German Rally Championship and in the ADAC Rallye Masters. In addition, he had two runs in the WRC Academy, the junior class of the WRC. On his debut in Germany he finished in seventh and at the round in France in fourth place. In Wales Wiegand will rely on the navigation of seasoned campaigner Timo Gottschalk (37), who won the Dakar Rally with Volkswagen this year and also has WRC experience. At the wheel of the second near 270-HP Fabia S2000 with four-wheel drive is Kevin Abbring. As a candidate for support of the Dutch KNAF federation, the 22-year-old from Son near Eindhoven has already gathered WRC experience as well. In 2009 he managed to take victory at the Junior WRC round in Poland, a year later in Portugal. This year the Dutchman clinched an early win of the French Gravel Championship for front-wheel drive vehicles together with his Belgian co-driver Lara Vanneste (21).