WEC and Formula E racer Sarrazin sets up his own rally team
|By David Evans||Tuesday, April 4th 2017, 07:15 GMT|
Multi-discipline driver Stephane Sarrazin has formed his own rally team and will compete on the World Rally Championship's Tour of Corsica this week in a Sarrazin Motorsport-run Skoda Fabia R5.
While maintaining his commitment to Toyota's World Endurance Championship programme and competing in Formula E with Venturi, the 41-year-old will develop a motorsport preparation business based in Cevennes in France.
Sarrazin Motorsport has a Hyundai i20 R5 as well as the Fabia and will focus on rallying to begin with, but the one-time Formula 1 racer has not ruled out a move into racing for his team.
"I'd been thinking about launching my own team for a little while," said Sarrazin, who was part of Subaru's factory WRC programme in the mid-2000s.
"I was waiting for the right conditions and it feels it's now time to go ahead, all lights are green.
"My career as a driver has allowed me to learn on different levels and aspects, not only through racing itself but also across many development programmes I've been involved in for several manufacturers and teams.
"My recent entries in rallying made that wish stronger, while also allowing me to discover new things because I was much more involved in the early stages of these projects, way beyond my role as a driver.
"Of course I wondered about racing on track versus rallying.
"It made more sense to go for rallying, as that's where I feel the most prepared.
"Sarrazin Motorsport will have the expertise required, I've got great people around me and strong partners.
"This will allow us to support young drivers in their development and quest for victories.
"We don't exclude racing on track at some point in the future.
"We're open to all options and clearly we want to develop and improve in time.
"We're going to grow one step at a time, wisely but with great ambitions.
"It's an important moment in my career. Toyota Gazoo Racing's programme remains my priority, as well as FIA Formula E with Venturi GP, but I know I'll be able to run the two in parallel and that's fantastic; 2017 promises to be a great and wonderful year."
Sarrazin won the Tour of Corsica when it was part of the European Rally Championship in 2014.
"Starting off with the Tour de Corse is a nice nod to my career and it shows how ambitious the team is," he said.
"I've won in Corsica before, that's a very special memory to me.
"It's also a legendary challenge, at the highest level, and within a very competitive class. That's what the team is aiming for."