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Citroen will bring Intercontinental Rally Challenge stand-out Thierry Neuville into the World Rally Championship next season.

The 22-year-old Belgian will drive a Citroen Racing Technologies-prepared DS3 WRC in at least nine rounds of the 2012 WRC, alongside regular co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul.

Neuville is confirmed for every round except New Zealand and Italy, with his presence in France and Spain provisional depending on how the first half of the season progresses.

"Ever since the moment I had the opportunity to drive the Citroen DS3 WRC in testing I've been dreaming of racing it," said Neuville. "It'll be the case in the Monte Carlo Rally, and I have to admit that I still have difficulty believing it.

"The 2011 season was a very positive one with two victories in two legendary rallies, the Tour of Corsica and the San Remo. I had to move up another step on the ladder and I'm very proud that Citroen Racing has put its trust in me for 2012. I'll do everything in my power to repay their confidence.

"My aim for the coming weeks is not to skip any stages, listen to the advice I'm given and understand how the team and the car work."

Neuville showed promise in a partial IRC campaign with Peugeot in 2010 before taking a massive step forward this season and becoming a rally winner and title contender, running at the front on all surfaces despite a relative lack of gravel experience.

Citroen team boss Olivier Quesnel said he had been watching Neuville's progress for a while and hoped he could fellow in the footsteps of Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier.

"Citroen Racing has been keeping a close eye on Thierry Neuville's career for several years now," he said. "We felt that the time had come to give him a chance at the topmost level.

"Like Sebastien Loeb, and more recently Sebastien Ogier, Thierry will find himself in a team that will help him complete his training and consolidate it with results. It's up to Thierry and Nicolas to seize this opportunity."

autosport.com/news/96799

. :cool:
 
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