Peter Rullo has announced he will be making his FIA World Rally Championship debut this month, with the West Australian to contest the 70th Rally Sweden.
Supported by local sponsors IntelliSpatial, Fleetcare, Utility Mapping, Leica Geosystems, RIEGL and Fuchs, Rullo will be behind the wheel of the Toni Gardemeister Services (TGS) Worldwide team prepared Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo for the event.
Calling the notes for Rullo will be 2023 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Champion co-driver Ben Searcy, with the duo pairing up for the second time after doing so at last year’s Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland in the Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship.
In contesting Rally Sweden, Rullo will be ticking off a lifelong bucket-list item by competing in the snow-filled WRC round around the streets and forests of the picturesque Swedish town of Umeå.
Considered the coldest and one of the fastest events on the WRC calendar, Rally Sweden is the only snow round of the season, and will see crews use specially designed tyres to tackle the icy and snowy roads.
Having switched from tarmac to gravel rallying in 2021, Rullo was looking forward to the unique challenge of taking on the fan favourite event in a Skoda Rally2 car.
“With the limited tarmac events currently in Australia, jumping into a Rally2 car in the ARC was an amazing opportunity,” Rullo said.
“Gravel rallies bring us right into the thick of it with less room for error. There is nothing like throwing the car into a corner sideways and it is so bloody satisfying when you nail it.
“From what I’ve seen, I can’t wait to pilot one of these Rally2 machines around in the snow. I don’t know why I didn’t give it a crack earlier.”
As for Searcy, the veteran co-driver was also excited at not just rallying in snow for the first time, but seeing it too.
“I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity to do a new and challenging WRC rally,” Searcy added.
“I’ve never seen snow before so it will be a huge experience. Partnering with Peter again will be great and we’re looking forward to a solid finish.”
Rullo and Searcy won’t be the only Australians in Sweden for the second WRC round for the year, with young gun Taylor Gill beginning his Junior World Rally Championship campaign with FIA Rally Star alongside co-driver Daniel Brkic.
Gill featured in the program’s first season last year, where he was one of the better performing drivers across the six rounds and progressed through to next stage for this year. As a result, Gill will run in the full JWRC season against some of the best young talents from around the world, including three other FIA Rally Star crews.
Rally Sweden takes place in Umeå, Sweden on 15-18 February.