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Dutch driver Peter van Merksteijn and co-driver Erwin Berkhof will make their FIA World Rally Championship debuts next week when they take on ADAC Rallye Deutschland. Van Merksteijn will pilot an M-Sport built Ford Focus RS WRC06 on this tenth round of the WRC.
After purchasing the Focus RS in May it was given a proper test last month when van Merksteijn competed in the ADAC Eifel Rallye finishing an impressive second overall, with a multitude of top-three stage times against a strong field of world rally cars.
Rally Germany’s 358 kilometres of competitive distance is made up of a wide variety of sealed surfaces on this second asphalt rally for 2007. Van Merksteijn will be looking to use years of experience in circuit racing to his advantage, as a former competitor in a host of tarmac championships including; FIA GT Championship, Dutch Renault Megane Cup, Dutch Touringcar Championship and the Porsche Supercup.
The Dutchman has experience in rallying dating back some 20 years, when he competed several times in the International Dutch Rallye Championship before switching to circuit racing. With a move back to rallying in 2007 he has decided to try his hand at the top level and what better way than in the 2006 FIA WRC Manufacturers’ Championship winning car.
Rallying is a family affair for the van Merksteijn team with his son, Peter Jr, competing in the Dutch Rally GpN Championship and daughter Stephanie in the Dutch Rally Sprint Championship.
Van Merksteijn will also be using the 06 Focus RS in three additional WRC events for 2007; Rally Catalunya, Rally Ireland and Rally GB.
Peter van Merksteijn said:
“This will be my first WRC event and I am really looking forward to it. I used the car for the first time last month at the Eifel Rally and it drove extremely well, I couldn’t believe how good it felt to drive. I drove the Germany rally in the mid 90’s and in 1994 we finished second overall. I have done a lot of circuit racing but rallying is very different especially with pacenotes which plays a big part in how well you do. My goal is to finish the rally to gain maximum experience in the Focus but inside the top 20 would be fantastic.”
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