Xavier Pons

Date of birth: 21 January 1980
Place of birth: Vic, Barcelona
Lives: Manlleu, Barcelona
Marital status: Single
Role: Driver
Hobbies: Fitness, kayaking

It’s rare for sportsmen to make it to the highest level in one sport, let alone two, but Xavier ĎXevi’ Pons has proved himself equally adept on
two wheels and four in a motorsport career stretching back more than ten years.

Xevi grew up around rallying. His father was a prominent name in national championships, and became the champion of Catalunya in 1983. He drove some of the
most famous Group B cars and, by the time he retired at the start of the 1990s, the passion for the sport had passed on to his son.

But Xevi’s first love was motorcycling. The Spanish ace started out racing enduro bikes in his home country in 1997. He was a rider of some distinction,
and quickly progressed from local competitions to major international races. He won the Spanish Senior Championship in 1998. He also finished second in the
European Championship and third in world standings.

Then it was time for a switch from two to four wheels. He started out in gravel events in the Spanish and Catalunyan championships, ending the year with some
strong results in the Group N category for production–based cars.

It gave him a taste for success, so in 2003 Xevi made the step up to the World Rally Championship stage, entering a handful of events in Gp N. His first event,
the Swedish Rally, was followed by outings in Finland and France in the middle of the season.

But his big breakthrough came – fittingly – on his home event, Rally Catalunya–Costa Brava, in October of that year.

Co–driven by Oriol Julia, Xevi dominated the Group N category on the smooth asphalt roads. He led all the way and finished more than four minutes
ahead of countryman and main Gp N rival Dani Sordo.

It was the first high–point of his career on four wheels. He followed that with fifth place in Gp N on Wales Rally GB and prepared to attack the
world rally series with renewed vigour the following year.

In 2004 he embarked on his most ambitious programme to date, by competing in both the Production World Rally Championship (PWRC) and Junior World Rally
Championship (JWRC).

Xevi made a steady start to his PWRC campaign and picked up points in Mexico and New Zealand, then came on strong in the second half of the year to win
in both Germany and France, placing him fourth in the overall standings.

In the JWRC class for 1600cc machinery, he finished ninth in the points and the highlight of the year was a visit to the podium after taking third on
Acropolis Rally of Greece.

The year ended on an even bigger high. Although he was not registered for PWRC points in Australia, Xevi made the trip Down Under anyway.

The result was a fantastic sixth overall, and second in Gp N, on one of the toughest events of the year. Ironically, he was beaten to class honours by
his new Subaru team–mate Chris Atkinson, who finished fifth overall!

For 2005, Xevi opted to make a concerted effort on the PWRC title and also work hard to secure a drive in the main World Rally Championship.

At the start of the year he got the chance to compete in a World Rally Car for the first time, handling a Peugeot 206 WRC on Rallye Monte Carlo.

After that it was time for maximum attack in the PWRC – or so it seemed. A class victory in New Zealand, allied with fourth–place finishes in Sweden
and Turkey, left him in contention for the title, but then an even bigger opportunity came his way.

The OMV World Rally Team offered him the chance to step back up to the main championship in a Citroen Xsara WRC for the Acropolis Rally of Greece. Xevi put
his PWRC commitments to one side to focus solely on making the most of this big chance (despite missing the second half of the PWRC season, he still finished
fifth in the points).

Points soon came his way in the WRC too. He rapidly become a regular frontrunner among the privateer entries and took seventh place on Rallye de France&ndsah
;Tour de Corse in October.

Just one week after his seventh–place finish on the island of Corsica, he scored a stunning fourth place at home on Rally Catalunya–Costa Daurada.
He narrowly missed his first WRC podium, finishing just 1.2s behind Mikko Hirvonen after a titanic battle with the Finnish driver.

Nevertheless, it was a fine performance which confirmed he had the pace to take on the best, and Xevi showed his consistency by finishing seven of his first
eight WRC events.

For 2006 he charged to nine points finishes on his way to seventh position in the WRC standings. He equaled his personal best WRC of fourth on four separate
occasions, and took his first special stage victory in Argentina.

The current season started with World Rally Championship outings in Monte Carlo, Sweden and Norway, while he combined his activities with some appearances in
the Spanish asphalt and gravel championships. He won the opening round of the gravel series in Guijuelo in March and finished third in the asphalt encounter
in Vila Joiosa in the same month.

The second half of 2007 offers Xevi the chance to get acquainted with the Subaru World Rally Team, one of the most revered and respected teams in the World
Rally Championship.

He’ll be fully prepared to hit the ground running in 2008, when he embarks on his first season with a full factory–supported WRC outfit.

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