Per-Gunnar Andersson is taking a positive stance ahead of his debut for the Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team on next month's Rally Bulgaria, determined to make the most of a rare opportunity to drive for one of the best teams in the World Rally Championship.
The Swede took time out of a busy schedule to reflect on the chance he has been given with Malcolm Wilson's crack squad, where he and co-driver Johan Andersson will partner British pairing Matthew Wilson and Scott Martin as nominated point-scorers on the seventh round of the season.
"It's fantastic!" the 30-year old enthused, "I'm really delighted to join one of the top teams in the WRC and I feel so privileged to have been given this chance.
"I was asked to drive in a Ford Fiesta R2 in the Pirelli International Rally in April, and we nearly didn't make it because we were delayed by the ash cloud returning from Rally Turkey. We ended up driving from Sweden to Cumbria in 28 hours in order to compete! The rally didn't go as well as I had hoped, but I was asked to stay on for an extra couple of days to do some endurance mileage on the Ford Focus RS WRC and, after some good feedback from M-Sport, I was offered the chance to drive in Bulgaria."
Despite having been used to different machinery as he claimed two JWRC titles, Andersson is confident that he can get to grips with the potent Focus WRC.
"I tested the Focus on gravel the other week, which was a great experience for me," he reported, "I know it has the speed to win rallies but, like anything, you need to learn how to drive the car in order to get the best performance."
While the gravel test provided the Swede with an early chance to get acquainted with the Focus, however, his first competitive outing for M-Sport will be on tarmac in Bulgaria. Despite that, he remains optimistic given that the event is a new one for the WRC.
"I've not driven on tarmac for over two years now, so that is preying on my mind a little, but this rally is new for everyone and, after I've done some testing, I will be as well prepared as I possibly can be," he pointed out, "It may take a few stages before I am comfortable, but I plan to increase my pace throughout the rally. My main aim is to get a good final result."