Dutch driver Dennis Kuipers will contest rounds of the 2010 World Rally Championship in a Ford Fiesta S2000, it has been announced.
The 24-year-old will do seven events starting at Rally Turkey in April. He will be partnered by the experienced Belgian co-driver Fred Miclotte as they also take on the WRC rallies in Portugal, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Japan or Spain and Great Britain.
Kuipers makes the switch to the Ford Fiesta S2000 after previously contesting a number of national European and WRC events in a Ford Focus RS WRC in 2008 and 2009.
The young Dutchman is hoping the move to the successful new Ford Fiesta S2000 will allow him to develop his experience at the top level of rallying throughout 2010 with a view to taking on a full campaign in 2011.
Earlier this month Kuipers visited M-Sport's shakedown location in Cumbria in order to familiarise himself with the car and completed around 75kms in fine crisp conditions. He intends to test the car again and glean more valuable seat time prior to making his debut at Rally Turkey.
“I was really impressed with the car after the test,” said Kuipers. “From the braking to the speed and handling it was all very, very good and I'm excited to be getting the chance to drive it in the WRC this year. My main aim is to finish rallies and build up my experience.
“It's all new for us so we can't expect to go out and be fast straight away. Once we have done a few events hopefully we will be able to see what the difference is between us and the other teams and learn from them. There are a lot of good drivers in the championship this year so it will be hard, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.”
Kuipers joins a growing list of talented competitors competing under the M-Sport banner in 2010 including Xevi Pons, Bernardo Sousa, and Andreas Mikkelsen.
“We are delighted to welcome Dennis to the M-Sport family and happy that he has chosen the Ford Fiesta S2000 for his programme in the WRC,” added M-Sport managing director, Malcolm Wilson.
“It will be a great opportunity for him to learn in a very competitive environment against some very quick drivers, and also take on some great WRC events such as Finland and Wales Rally GB. We are looking forward to seeing him develop as the year progresses.”