New team is coming, pick your drivers

Bryan Bouffier finally found a job, he’ll be testing and competing for Hyundai – it’s still not clear if they plan to use him on WRC events, but at least he is no longer unemployed. Because being without a job sucks. Every young and perspective rally driver dreams of factory teams, WRC events and victories, but only a few of them will see those dreams turn into reality. Some will fight their way to the top, others will whip out their (or sponsors’) wallets and reserve a spot under the WRC sun, but no matter how many teams join the WRC battlefield, there will always be limited number of jobs available to drivers. And, as we know, there are many drivers looking for a way into the big league.

Now, let’s imagine for a moment there is a new team ready to join the championship. Let’s say they have big budget and they wish to run two full teams featuring two cars each, meaning four drivers are about to be hired. Please note I’m only talking about drivers here, no crews. Similar concepts are in effect in Hyundai (to an extent) and Volkswagen, but their “B” teams (or II and N, as they call them) consist of only one car/crew. Our imaginary new team, be it Toyota or Opel or Mazda or Whatever, could also use one or two drivers to make up their test & development team, doing the work away from stages and/or competing in some national or regional events, maybe even working on customer car development.

So, we have four spots open for drivers and we have one spot open for a R&D driver. Who would be your picks for these spots? Let’s say we have crew A1 and crew A2 making up the Team A and crews B1 and B2 making up the B team. Of course, team A crews are the big deal, scoring the points, so these two cars should be “given” to the best drivers. Team B cars can be populated by junior crews, for example. For R&D duties you can pick freely, so you can opt for another junior OR you can go the opposite way and select the experienced veteran, you know, a guy who’s been there and done that, but is no longer ready to submit to full WRC programme.

Which drivers would be your favourites to join this new team. You can even steal drivers from the existing WRC lineups, but I’d like to see more new names. It’s a free for all kind of “game” so, well, feel free to suggest. It would be fantastic if you could explain your picks as well. Let’s see if you’re willing to play.

My selections (not the definitive list, but had to stop listing more and more at some point, right):

Team A1: Petter Solberg
Team A2: Ott Tanak

Team B1: Sebastien Chardonnet or Kevin Abbring
Team B2: Quentin Gilbert or Christian Riedermann or Pontus Tidemand

R&D: Francois Delecour