French rally hotshot Pierre Campana will make his debut behind the wheel of a World Rally Car when he contests the upcoming German and French rounds of the World Rally Championship in a Mini John Cooper Works WRC.

The car will be run by Team Drive Pro together with Prodrive, who run the factory Mini entries in the WRC. The Corsican driver will be backed by the FFSA, the French motorsports federation.

The FFSA's 'Rally Team France' programme was previously influential in the early careers of Citroen drivers Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier.

After winning the 2WD category on Rallye Monte Carlo, Campana contested the Tour de Corse in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000, finishing the event in fourth overall on his debut in an S2000 car. He had hoped to contest further rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, but could not secure the necessary funding.

His first taste of the Mini will be in a one day test at the Pôle Mécanique circuit Alès-Cévennes in the south of France tomorrow (Thursday). He will then take part in the Richard Burns Memorial Rally in the UK, together with the factory Mini team, in mid-August, as preparation for WRC Germany the following week.

“I am very proud to have been chosen by the FFSA to wear the colours of Rally Team France,” said the 25-year-old. “For me it’s a great leap forward in my rally career and I cannot wait to begin this exciting new chapter. It will be a big challenge but one which I am confident I can contest to a high level and with complete focus and motivation.

“To be driving a Mini John Cooper Works WRC car is an incredible thought and I will do all I can to uphold the reputation of all these legendary brands. I am incredibly thankful to the FFSA for giving me this incredible honour and would also like to extend my thanks to Drive-Pro for giving me this opportunity. I can't wait for the test to get underway at Alès-Cévennes tomorrow.

Campana caught the eye with his fourth place finish on home soil in Corsica on his S2000 debut. Photo Credit: ircseries.com

“I am keeping my expectations realistic, though, because this will be my first WRC participation since Tour de Corse three years ago. I was not in last year's event at Alsace and this will be my first ever WRC Germany, so I will have plenty to learn in a short space of time. I am going to soak up every minute of this experience and just do my best along this great new journey which has been laid in front of me.”

Nicolas Deschaux, President of the FFSA, commented: “The FFSA has long set itself the challenge of guaranteeing conditions and creating the necessary environment for our most promising hopes to attain the highest stage of their discipline, and we still continue today with the same determination.

“Following Sebastien Ogier in 2009, the steering committee members are, together with myself, happy to entrust Pierre Campana with the colours of Rally Team France this year. We believe that this young, talent and committed driver will give his all to seize the opportunity that the FFSA has offered him.”