Thierry Neuville will drive a Citroen DS3 WRC in the 2012 World Rally Championship, it has been announced.
The Belgian, who impressed in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge this season, winning in Corsica and San Remo in his Peugeot 207 S2000 and who was in contention for the IRC title right up until the last event, is currently scheduled to take in a minimum of nine WRC events, competing in Monte Carlo, Sweden, Mexico, Portugal, Greece, Argentina, Finland, Germany and Britain.
France and Spain however, may be added to his programme, depending on how the season unfolds. His car will be run by Citroen Racing Technologies.
“Ever since the moment I had the opportunity to drive the Citroen DS3 WRC in testing I've been dreaming of racing it. It'll be the case in the Monte Carlo Rally, and I have to admit that I still have difficulty believing it!” said the 22-year-old.
“The 2011 season was a very positive one with two victories in two legendary rallies, the Tour of Corsica and the San Remo. I had to move up another step on the ladder and I'm very proud that Citroen Racing has put its trust in me for 2012.
“I'll do everything in my power to repay their confidence. My aim for the coming weeks is not to skip any stages, listen to the advice I'm given and understand how the team and the car work.”
Olivier Quesnel, Citroen Racing team principal, added: “Citroen Racing has been keeping a close eye on Thierry Neuville's career for several years now. We felt that the time had come to give him a chance at the topmost level.
“Like Sebastien Loeb, and more recently Sebastien Ogier, Thierry will find himself in a team that will help him complete his training and consolidate it with results. It's up to Thierry and [co-driver] Nicolas [Gilsoul] to seize this opportunity in 2012!”