Car number revealed for van Gisbergen’s WRC debut

Shane van Gisbergen. Picture Geoff Ridder

Shane van Gisbergen will run a different number at Rally New Zealand, as he makes his FIA World Rally Championship debut later this month.

In contrast to his traditional # 97, the current Supercars Championship leader and co-driver Glen Weston will tackle the rally in the # 23 Supercheap Auto-backed Skoda Fabia Evo in WRC2.

The Kiwi is accustomed to the car, having piloted the Race Torque-prepared entry in the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australian Rally Championship earlier this year.

In making his debut, van Gisbergen realizes his dream of competing in the rally he watched many times as a youngster.

A total of 29 entries make-up the WRC field at Rally New Zealand, which is set to be held from September 29-October 2.

The entry list consists of 11 competitors in WRC1, 12 in WRC2, as well as six other New Zealand drivers.

The overall field is headlined by championship leader Kalle Rovanper√§ who will be looking to clinch the title at the event and become the youngest champion in the category’s history.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing team driver is enjoying a dominant run of form this season, collecting five of his seven career wins in 2022.

He will be joined by team-mate eight-time WRC title winner Sebastien Ogierwho was recently confirmed as a starter for the event.

The WRC2 entry list features 2016 Rally Argentina winner Hayden Paddonwho made a return to the global championship this year.

Australian Rally Champion Harry Bates and Australian privateer Luke Anearwho made his WRC debut at Rally Italia Sardegna, before competing at Rally Estonia, will also compete in the class.

In addition to the WRC field, the New Zealand Rally Championship has attracted 46 crews, with a total of 75 entries to take part in the event.

For the WRC entry list, click here.