Subaru hot-shot, Dean Herridge, is expanding his wings even further this year with news that he has secured a drive for Subaru Rally Team China.

Herridge, along with regular co-driver Bill Hayes, will drive a Group N Impreza WRX in all remaining rounds of the Chinese Rally Championship, commencing with a tarmac rally in Beijing in the middle of June.

“I returned from China on Saturday afternoon after finalizing the deal,” Herridge told RallySport Magazine today. “It’s an exciting opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Herridge will compete against a host of international stars in the series, including British stars Martin Rowe and David Higgins, New Zealand Champion Richard Mason, and Finnish star Jarkko Mietienen.

“It won’t be easy, that’s for sure,” Herridge added. “While I won’t be in the running for the drivers’ championship under the rules the Chinese Championship runs under, my results will count towards the teams’ championship, which Subaru Rally Team China are very keen to win.”

Herridge replaces Japanese driver Kamada in the team, and it is likely that a couple of his local Australian mechanics will head to China to form part of the service crew.

In the meantime, Herridge is preparing for the Rally of Canberra in just over a week’s time – an event he’s been extremely successful at. In his previous four attempts at the rally, he’s finished on the podium each time, including winning the rally in 2004.

After some engine management changes improved the performance of his car at the previous ARC round in Western Australia, Herridge hopes to again be a front-runner.

“We’ll run in the Asia Pacific Rally, meaning that guys like Neal Bates and Simon Evans will start behind us in the ARC field, so it will be hard to keep track of their times,” he added. “However we’ve always had the opinion that if you have a homologated Group N car, you might was well run in the main rally.”

Herridge also admitted that the extra press coverage gained by him doing well in an APRC round has also been helpful in his career, as his drive in Chinese proves.

Herridge is currently unsure if he will drive for the Japanese Subaru team at the WRC rounds in Japan and New Zealand, as he has done in previous years.

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