The Subaru World Rally team have announced that Xavier Pons will join the Banbury-based outfit for the second half of the 2007 season and for the entire 2008 FIA World Rally Championship campaign.
The 27-year-old will drive a third Subaru Impreza WRC2007 for the last eight rallies of this year - starting with Rally Finland on August 3-5 - as a precursor to a full campaign in 2008, when the team will continue fielding three cars. Subaru will retain an option on his services for 2009.
“We're delighted to be able to field a car for Xevi. It is a huge bonus to get another experienced driver into the team to complement our existing driver line-up,” said Subaru WRT managing director, Richard Taylor.
“Although Xevi has been around in the WRC for a few years, he has never driven a Subaru in all that time, but we're looking forward to welcoming him into our team and developing a working relationship with him.
“The logistics of running three cars instead of two will not present a problem for the team, bearing in mind we ran three cars on selected events last season. We always maintained that we'd be happy to expand our team again if we could find a driver who is serious about his approach to the sport and Xevi fits that bill perfectly.”
Pons, who finished seventh in the WRC points standings in 2006 and who has done three events so far this season, in a privately entered Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05, will get acquainted with the Impreza WRC2007 for the first time on the team's pre-Rally Finland gravel test in the middle of July.
“We have worked very hard to make this happen and I'm very happy to be back in the World Rally Championship with a top team,” added Xevi. “This is a fantastic opportunity to prove myself against the best drivers, and I want to repay the faith the Subaru World Rally Team has shown in me by producing excellent results.
“It will be a great experience for me to be part of the same team as Petter Solberg and Chris Atkinson, and I can't wait to drive the Impreza WRC2007 for the first time.”
Pons, who will be co-driven by Xavier Amigo, has competed in 52 WRC events to date - his best results, five fourth places.