Reigning Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Nicolas Vouilloz carried a special passenger during shakedown for the Rally Internacional de Curitiba after being joined in his car by World Touring Car Championship title winner Yvan Muller.
With the WTCC season kicking-off this weekend in Brazil, SEAT Sport ace Muller joined Vouilloz in his Peugeot 207 S2000 for a run through the shakedown stage and admitted it had been a somewhat nervous experience to sit in the passenger seat.
"For any driver, it's not easy to sit in the passenger seat, so I was a bit nervous to begin with,” he said. “But in the end I was able to appreciate the experience, and I really like rally cars. It's very hard though to compare the driving style with what we do on the circuit.
“For a start, on the shakedown stage I was in the right-hand seat, which is an unusual place for me to be. Secondly, there is a world of difference between driving on a rally stage on gravel and driving on a circuit on asphalt. But it was fun, and this experience has certainly re-awakened my enjoyment of rallying."
Vouilloz too admits that he had been a little nervous ahead of the shakedown run and he said the lack of pace-notes had made it a different experience to what he is used to.
"Yvan said before the start that he was a little bit apprehensive, which I understand completely as I would be exactly the same in a similar situation," he said. "So I made sure that I drove well within my limits, although we were still going at a good pace, because I wanted him to experience it properly.
“Actually it was quite strange for me, because normally even on the shakedown stage my co-driver, Nicolas Klinger, reads me pace notes but obviously on this occasion I did not have them. It meant that I had to really concentrate, but I hope that Yvan enjoyed it and that the experience hasn't put him off rallying forever!"