8Star Motorsports has ambitions to branch out into the world of rallying and Rallycross, after Stéphane Sarrazin made a flawless return to the rally stage in his native France last week (23-25 October).
At the wheel of an 8Star Motorsports-backed Ford Fiesta WRC, 30-year old Sarrazin took top honors in the Rallye Criterium des Cévennes – the penultimate round of the 2014 FFSA French Rally Championship.
Sarrazin took command of the event in his home region of France and recorded the quickest times on no fewer than ten special stages to take the outright victory, more than five minutes ahead of his nearest opponents.
The multi-faceted Frenchman from Le Gard currently operates as a Toyota Racing factory driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and has featured as part of 8Star Motorsports’ driver line-up on several previous occasions.
His ultra-lucrative endurance racing career encompasses three pole positions and four podium finishes in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as three race wins at Petit Le Mans, but Sarrazin has also seen a great deal of success in rallying and enjoys keeping his hand in with sporadic one-off appearances on some of the world’s most demanding special stages.
As a result, 8Star Motorsports Team Boss, Enzo Potolicchio, is searching for likeminded partners wishing to increase brand awareness in rallying, saying: “I speak on behalf of everybody at 8Star Motorsports when I say how delighted we are to have been part of Stéphane’s (Sarrazin) victory in the 2014 Rallye Criterium des Cévennes. We have a team with a vast amount of experience in the world of rallying and Rally Cross, and we are looking for sponsors to eventually participate in this type of racing. With the experience of Stéphane and his co-driver Jacques-Julien Renucci, we truly believe we can be competitive in the World Rally Championship (WRC) and Rallycross.”
Sarrazin – the 2004 French Champion of Rally – officially represented Subaru during the 2005 and 2006 World Rally Championship (WRC) seasons and notably reached the podium places in the 2009 Rallye Monte-Carlo, won the Limosusin and Mont-Blanc rallies in 2012 and came third in last year’s Tour de Corse.
And with plans to take his 8Star and Oreca-Store.com-supported Ford Fiesta to the 2014 Tour de Corse (6-8 November) – the much-anticipated final round of the European Rally Championship (ERC) – Sarrazin can only hope to emulate the sort of results he notched up on his previous attempt in 2013.
“I am very happy about this success,” said Sarrazin. “My very first aim was to enjoy the rally and that was absolutely the case, with some great special stages that were sometimes very narrow and difficult to negotiate. I had to familiarise myself with the Ford Fiesta WRC, find a pace that is appropriate and a style that suits rally driving, but I had good feelings quite early on. We kept on attacking throughout the entire event and we did a great job. Jacques-Julien Renucci and I got on perfectly well and, as always, First Motorsport did a fantastic job. We managed to refine the setup whenever possible@ it was important for us to do so because we have the Tour de Corse in mind.
“Overall, every single special stage was an opportunity for us to improve. The Rallye des Cévennes was a real dream for me when I was a child, so I am really happy to have won it for the first time. It’s quite a special victory for me, in fact. I had a fantastic weekend and I would like to thank 8Star Motorsports and Oreca-Store.com for making it possible. Corsica will be another type of challenge, as I will face the best European drivers.”