Alessandro Bettega has confirmed that he will drive a World Rally Car on the Rallye de France-Tour de Corse in October, having concluded a deal to use an M-Sport-run Ford Focus RS WRC06.

The 2006 Fiesta Sporting Trophy International winner has also revealed that he has abandoned his Junior Rally Championship [JRC] programme with the Fiesta Super 1600 after various problems in Norway, Portugal and Sardinia.

Bettega will enter the 13th round in the 2007 FIA World Rally Championship under the banner of Ford's 'B' team, the Stobart M-Sport Ford Rally Team and as normal he will be partnered by co-driver, Simone Scattolin and supported by TRT La Scuderia.

"I feel really excited about this great chance," said the Italian. "Having the possibility to drive a Ford Focus WRC is the best thing that can happen to a driver. It is like a dream come true.

"I know it will be very difficult to compete against the best drivers in the world, but I am taking it as a good opportunity to drive the car that is currently in the top spot of the championship.

"I hope I will get the possibility to test with the car before the rally to build up a little bit of confidence with a car of extraordinary performance. For sure I will struggle at the beginning but I will try to improve every stage.

"I am very happy to have this fantastic opportunity in Corsica, because last year I had very good feeling on the roads and I enjoyed it a lot. I would like to thank M-Sport for this fantastic opportunity, my team TRT, which is helping me in every occasion, and all the sponsors that allowed us to start the season."

Bettega's deal to compete in France in a WRC car has been made possible following an agreement between TRT and PromoCaorle, for the promotion of the tourist place of Caorle, Venice.

Walter Calcinotto, patron of TRT, is delighted to see his prot?g? make it into the big time: "Bettega realises a dream and TRT with him. I wish to point out that in the last year only one Italian pilot has taken part in a WRC car outside Italy with a top car, Gigi Galli. Now is the moment of Bettega and I am proud to say that TRT has achieved with him an historical undertaking," he added.

"Three years ago, when Alessandro joined the team, I decided it would be worth giving him a chance. First of all because he is a real talent and then because he is a serious young man.

"Since then, our commitment with him has been growing from year-to-year with a constant presence in the WRC. At present TRT justifies its faith to the vocation of talent-scout, being concentrated on its main aim: to take a young Italian pilot to drive an official WRC car in a world championship.

"To do this by the Tour de Corse with Alessandro Bettega has a double meaning. We never forget that in May 1985 on those roads, which he loved, Attilio Bettega was taken away. Today on the same roads his son Alessandro makes his debut in an official World Rally car."

M-Sport boss, Malcolm Wilson meanwhile pointed out that this shows just what can be achieved by those opting to take in the Fiesta Sporting Trophy: "This is exactly the type of opportunity that we had hoped to be able to provide when we set up the FST series," he summed-up.

"Alessandro and his TRT team have worked really very hard to get to where they are and this should give them a great chance to get the experience that is vital to progress nowadays. 2007 has been difficult for Alessandro to date and this will give him the chance to understand what competing at the highest level is all about. It is great that the Fiesta series has been able to offer this opportunity."

 

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