It’s fair to say Alberto Heller had a blast at Rally Chile.
The fanatical support of his home crowd was reason enough to smile, but adding in the small matter of his debut outing in a Rally1 machine made a special weekend even sweeter.
After closely shadowing fellow Rally1 debutant Grégoire Munster on the rally’s opening day, Heller would climb as high as seventh on the leaderboard on Saturday morning. A double puncture set him back on SS9, and he eventually finished the event 15th overall.
But for the Chilean, one taste of Rally1 life in the World Rally Championship isn’t enough. His eyes are set on more outings next year, and during the Rally Chile weekend he expressed his hope to tackle as many as five events in 2024.
Following the event, however, he gave a more reserved response.
“We don’t have any plans yet,” he told DirtFish.
“We want, in the future, to be back here [at Rally Chile], and maybe add a few events to prepare a bit better, to have more experience. Because to go [to a rally] after one small test is not so easy.”
While the number of rallies he’ll contest may not be certain yet, one thing that won’t change is the team he’ll drive for. If Heller comes back, it’ll be with M-Sport in a Ford Puma Rally1 Hybrid.
“I have a really good relationship with the team, and if I have an opportunity in the future it will be with the same guys in the same car, definitely.”
And certainly, bringing his Puma home in one piece, on a rally where several Rally1 veterans found trouble, is something Heller feels will help his chances of a top-class return.
“Here it is, the car M-Sport gave to me, now I return in the same condition. So really happy about that, and hope in the future I can repeat this same experience.”