World Rally Championship regular Conrad Rautenbach will make his Intercontinental Rally Challenge debut on Sata Rally Azores next month, having landed a seat with the French PH Sport operation.
Rautenbach, who drives for the Citroen Junior Team in the WRC, will compete at the wheel of a Peugeot 207 in an effort to expand his experience of driving Super 2000 machinery. British co-driver Daniel Barritt will partner the Zimbabwean.
"I've never competed in one of these cars before, so I'm really looking forward to having a go in one," Rautenbach admitted, "I've seen the guys driving Super 2000 cars on rounds of the world championship earlier this year and they sound awesome.
"Obviously, it's going to take a while to get used to the lack of torque which we have from a turbocharged engine in a World Rally Car but, having come from a [1600cc non-turbo] WRC Junior car a few years ago, I'm used to revving engines to get the most out of them."
The 24-year old's agreement to compete in the IRC is currently for the Azores event, only although he would not deny the possibility that he could enter further rounds later in the season.
"The immediate future of the World Rally Championship is going to be based on this type of car, so the chance to get in one and drive it now is invaluable - nothing compares with putting competitive miles on the clock when you're learning a new car," Rautenbach, a former FIA African rally champion, pointed out, "At the moment, it's a deal for the Azores, but I'm hoping I can do some more rallies beyond this one. Let's see how this first one goes.
"I'm really grateful to everybody at PH Sport, who has helped to put this deal together - and I'm really looking forward to getting into the competition in the IRC. I've watched with interest this year [and seen] how competitive the Monte Carlo and Curitiba rallies were, so the chance to get in there and mix it with those boys is great for me."