Fiat Auto UK's three-car team, comprising the youngest manufacturer-backed driver line-up ever entered for the Wales Rally GB, were at Walters Arena (Rheola) on Thursday [September 2] to shakedown their 187bhp Fiat Stilo Rally Cup specification cars in advance of the manufacturer's forthcoming involvement in World Championship rallying.

With an average age of just 21, the official Fiat Auto UK entry is headed by 22-year-old Leon Pesticcio. Joining him is Abergavenny's Chris Davies and Italian Andrea Perego, both of whom are leading the UK's 2004 Stilo Cup and Italy's Trofeo Stilo respectively.

Pesticcio has swapped his usual Punto S1600 seat for a Stilo drive, and will be partnered, as usual, by the experienced Tim Sturla. The pair have been busy so far this year, with forays on the British and Italian National Championships, as well as rounds of the JWRC.

"It was good to finally get some time at the wheel of the Stilo before Rally GB," said Pesticcio after the test. "It took a bit of adjustment going back to an H-pattern gearbox after my Punto's sequential box but the car seems well balanced and is great to drive."

Chris Davies joins the team with co-driver and fellow Welshman Nathan Parry, the crew's entry on the event also being a WRC first.

The youngest member of the team, Davies will join Pesticcio in representing Wales on their home ground. "If it's anything like today, the rally's going to be a dry, dusty few days," he said after the shakedown. "The Stilo felt great over the gravel at Walters and the car was flowing nicely between the corners. We were kicking up a huge dust cloud, so if the weather holds, spectators might want to come armed with face wipes!"

Perego who will be partnered by experienced co-driver, Claudio Vischioni, will be making his UK and WRC debut in Wales.