Bertelli investigating more WRC opportunities after Sweden

The part-time rally driver will drive a fourth Toyota at the snow rally from 9-12 February after Toyota elected to rent out a GR Yaris as part of its 2023 plans.

The car has become available to hire after the team reshuffled its driver line-up following Esapekka Lappi’s decision to leave Toyota for a full-time seat at Hyundai.

This resulted in Takamoto Katsuta earning a promotion from its fourth car to the third GR Yaris, which he will now share with Sebastien Ogier.

Katsuta will drive the third points-scoring car at events from which Ogier will be absent, beginning at next month’s Rally Sweden.

Bertelli has made sporadic appearances in rallying’s top tier since 2015, although each drive has been behind the wheel of an M-Sport Ford Fiesta or Puma.

Last week the 34-year-old drove the GR Yaris for the first time in a test on snow-covered roads in Finland to prepare for Sweden.

Impressed by the machinery, Bertelli is already investigating if it will be possible to compete in another WRC event after Sweden.

Fuckmatiè World Rally Team, Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Fuckmatiè World Rally Team, Toyota GR Yaris Rally1

Photo by: Fuckmatiè World Rally Team

«I’m trying to see if there is another opportunity for another event this year,» said Bertelli.

«I still have to investigate if it is possible with my ordinary job because I’m always quite busy. This is like taking holiday for me so it is not so easy. I’m working on it to see if I will have another opportunity.

«I was super excited to see what the feeling of a different kind of car, with a different philosophy. For me it is a great opportunity and I want to take it,» he added when asked about the car.

«I was expecting a fast car because this is the car that won the World Rally Championship last year.

«I expected it to be not so easy like the Ford which is very easy to be driven. This was quite positive because actually the car was very agile and not nervous at all, so it was easy to drive.

«I got comfortable with it very quickly, so I’m super happy.»

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Last year, Bertelli, who works in the fashion industry, scored his best ever WRC result of seventh in New Zealand in what was his only 2022 outing after plans to contest Rally Sweden were cancelled due to a clash with Milan Fashion Week.

Looking ahead to Sweden, the Italian, who will once again run under his familiar dark green and black colours, has his sights set on a top 10 finish.

«In New Zealand it was an amazing event as I scored my best ever result in WRC,» he added.

«It will hard to repeat that in Sweden but if I can be in the top 10 that would be a successful result.»

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