Patrik Sandell will compete in the Production Car World Rally Championship with the Red Bull Rallye Team in 2009, it was announced today.
The Swede, who won the Junior World Rally Championship in 2006 and who competed in both the J-WRC and the P-WRC in 2008, will drive a factory-supported Skoda Fabia Super 2000.
Sandell and co-driver Emil Axelsson will begin their P-WRC campaign in Norway, before also going on to compete in Cyprus, Portugal, Sardinia, Greece and GB. They are also due to do another two WRC events, which have yet to be confirmed.
"It's really a great honour for me to be able to drive for the Red Bull Rallye Team," said Sandell. "I would love to repay their huge trust in me with the world championship title. After last year's results I think that my goal can only be the P-WRC title."
Team boss Raimund Baumschlager, who has already been able to gain personal experience with the Skoda Fabia S2000 during tests, is looking forward to working with Sandell. Indeed he reckons the 26-year-old should be able to do very well and he is keen to see him repeat what ex-Red Bull Rallye Team man Andreas Aigner managed in 2008.
"I'm glad to have one of the best drivers in our team with Patrik," he added. "For me there is no doubt he is world champion material, that's why our common goal can only be to defend the title for the Red Bull Rallye Team.
"I was able to form a very precise opinion about Patrik in 2008. Rarely have I seen a young driver work so hard on his career.
"His will to find sponsors, even in hard times, impressed me. We expect the same ambition and effort during preparation for the rallies in '09 and of course in the competition as well."