Experienced rally co-driver Dale Moscatt has returned to Europe and is back in the FIA World Rally Championship (ARC) after running in the first day of the WRC Rally Sweden overnight.
It’s been a few years since the New South Welshman has competed in the top level of international rallying, however he secured a deal with Rakan Al-Rashed that will see him calling the notes for the Saudi Arabian for a full WRC2 season.
The pair will be behind the wheel of the Printsport Racing prepared ŠKODA Fabia RS Rally2 car – the Czech manufacturer’s newest model – and will tackle seven rounds in 2022, starting with this weekend in Sweden.
Having begun the rally with a top 30 on the first stage, the duo will tackle a further 17 stages on a course that resonates to a winter wonderland.
An experienced campaigner on the WRC circuit, this year’s campaign will be Moscatt’s first back in the championship since 2016, where he was then co-driving for fellow Australian, Scott Pedder.
Although he snuck in a round in 2020 during COVID times, this year’s season will be his official return as he looks to help Al-Rashed grow as a driver.
“It’s good to be back to normal a little bit and back in the WRC,” Moscatt said.
“As I was involved in the WRC circuit for a few years, I know a lot of people here and it feels like a bit of homecoming. The formats are also similar to what they have always been.
“Even though the last time I was in the WRC was in 2020 for Rally Estonia, it feels much different. With that said, that event was important because it is where I met Rakan.
“We were both competing for Print Sport Racing, which is one of the biggest teams in Finland, and we were speaking a lot during testing where I helped him out a bit. He’s a lovely guy from Saudi, we get along well, and I am enjoying the new partnership.
“He is fairly newish and gaining experience, so in that sense, we’re not expecting to go out and fly towards the front – the plan is to enjoy ourselves, learn the car and get closer to the front guns by the end of the rally.
“The WRC2 has some very good drivers at the head of the field – some of whom have come back from Rally1 cars like Oliver Solberg – so there is very stiff competition and we’re not going to crash trying to catch them.
“It would be amazing to finish this weekend and rank somewhere near the top 10 by the end of the weekend, but we will just wait and see.”
As for the rally itself, it’s perfect conditions for rallying and Moscatt was one of many who was thrilled with how the WRC event was looking.
“All the drivers are saying it is some of the best conditions they have seen in a while. Day time temps have been perfect and visually, it’s going to be spectacular to watch,” Moscatt added.
“There is a lot of snow around, there are super-fast sections with snowbanks and plenty of cottages lined up along the stages – It’s going to be fantastic for people to watch because it really does look like a winter wonderland.
“Even the first stage of the event, Umea Sprint, which we will run again on day two was impressive – it’s a five-kilometre stage that ends in this man-built amphitheatre with plenty of jumps.
“The car is going to be amazing on these stages and we have all the right tools to get the job done. The stages are in spectacular condition as there is quite a nice layer of ice underneath due the perfect weather here.
“All in all, we’re really looking forward to this weekend as a whole.”
Rally Sweden is the WRC’s second round of the 2023 season and takes place in Umeå on 9-12 February.