Andrea Torlasco has been selected to compete for the 'BFGoodrich Drivers Team' on the Rallye Sanremo this month, the eighth round in the 2008 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Torlasco was one of 133 applicants to apply for the drive in the Kronos-run Peugeot 207 S2000 and he then made the shortlist initially drawn up by BFGoodrich and Kronos.
In the end he got seven votes - cast by a panel comprising representatives of the Italian media, BFGoodrich, Kronos and the CSAI - while the other drivers to make it into the final five included Simone Campelli, who had six votes, while Piergiorgio Deila and Davide Medici both got two votes.
"The news came as a huge surprise for me," said Torlasco last week. "I had no idea I would be chosen, but I'm absolutely thrilled! I would like to thank all the journalists who voted for me.
"BFGoodrich has decided to give me a unique opportunity to compete in a major international event. They can rest assured that I will do all I can to figure at the sharp end of the Rallye Sanremo leader-board"
The 24-year-old will now drive the car for the first time on September 22 during a test session near Sanremo, before going on to contest the event itself later the same week.
"This is a unique opportunity for an Italian driver to defend his national colours on an international event. I am very pleased with the way this three-way collaboration between BFGoodrich, ourselves and the local media has gone," added Marco Ferrari, CSAI president. "The BFGoodrich Drivers Team programme is an extremely innovative and ambitious project."
"I can only applaud the final choice," continued Kronos boss, Marc van Dalen. "The BFGoodrich Drivers Team operation is going from strength to strength and there were 133 applications from Italian crews to represent BFGoodrich on the Rallye Sanremo. That's a huge success in itself.
"Andrea Torlasco is 24. If you compare that with the age of the selected driver in Belgium, Patrick Snijers (50), it couldn't be more apparent that this scheme really is open to everybody.
"The media here in Italy were able to choose from a very varied shortlist of five finalists. I have no intention of putting Andrea under any pressure, but Snijers finished fifth overall in Belgium, while the driver chosen to fly the BFGoodrich Drivers Team flag on the recent Barum Rally Zlin in the Czech Republic came fourth, so the pattern is clear.
"We will do all we can to provide Andrea with the means to score the best result possible. The pre-event test session will enable him to familiarise himself with the Peugeot 207 Super 2000 and he will also be able to sample the full range of BFGoodrich tyres which will be vital to help him make the best choices once the rally starts."
The Rallye Sanremo will mark the fifth and final outing of the year for the 'BFGoodrich Drivers Team'.