Massimiliano 'Max' Rendina has decided to join forces with triple Production Car world champion Ralliart Italy to challenge for the 2014 Group N Cup within the FIA WRC2 Championship.

The 38-year old Roman was delighted to top the Group N category in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X at Rallye Monte Carlo last month - his first ever event outside Italy and the opening round of the 2014 FIA WRC Championship - but, after getting off to such a strong start, it was with disappointment that he had to pull out of Rally Sweden after injuring his hand.

However, undeterred and with prognoses looking positive from his doctor, Rendina will head to Rally Mexico, which will now act as his second nominated round of the season.

Rendina, current organiser of Rally di Roma Capitale, started rallying aged 23, before taking on his first full championship three years later in 2001 and winning his N3 class. Since then, he's finished first outright in 18 Italian Championship rounds and in 2012 was delighted to win the production class of the Italian Championship in only his second full season.

Ready to explore the World Rally stage, Rendina plans to challenge for six WRC events this season, as well as running a programme at home to ensure he gets kilometres under his belt. While his result in Monte Carlo puts him in an excellent points position moving forward, Rendina's focus is on getting as much experience as possible and putting in the best times he can on new and varied stages.

The different challenges thrown up by each round of the WRC mark why the series is the world's premier rallying competition. However, for an international novice like Rendina, the focus must be on endurance and consistency.

"It's going to be a big step for me this season and although I think - at least I hope - I'm ready, I want to give myself the best chance possible," he noted, "To help me with the challenge, I've decided to join forces with Ralliart Italy, three times PWRC champions and WRC stalwarts.

"I normally run my own team as well as having a full-time day job as a businessman but, for my first trip to Mexico, I need to focus on my driving to make the most of the incredible opportunity ahead of me. I guess now I have to try not to be too much of a backseat team manager! Fortunately, I don't think that'll be too hard since I have a lot of confidence in the team and have had a good relationship with the Ralliart Italy team manager Bruno for many years!"

It isn't only good luck and judgment on Rendina's side though - he also went to visit the Pope recently to have his overalls blessed and get a little bit of extra help. It wouldn't be revealing any state secrets to share Pope Francis' pleasure when he heard that Rendina will be heading to His Holiness' homeland for Rally Argentina in April!



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