Ford’s Hirvonen looking forward to exciting rally Ireland 2009 event
Cork, 16 January 2009 – The BP Ford Abu Dhabi team’s lead driver, Mikko Hirvonen, has spoken of his excitement at competing in the upcoming Rally Ireland, the first event on the World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar for 2009. The Rally will be the largest sporting event to take place in Ireland this year.
Speaking about the unique challenge of competing in Ireland, Hirvonen said: "Rally Ireland was a difficult event back in 2007, but this year, I feel it's going to be even harder. I think we'll experience ice in some places and the roads are so narrow and fast, it's incredible.”
“Cars cut the corners and pull mud onto the road so it can be quite dirty and slippery in places. It's going to be an interesting and challenging event to start the season with. We have a two-day test before the rally so that should give us some confidence going into the stages. I definitely want to be on the podium, but if there's any chance at all I want to fight for the win".
Hirvonen and his team-mates will again be competing in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Cars.
The WRC will kick off its first event of 2009 along the same roads of the border counties in both Northern Ireland and the Republic as when the first Rally Ireland event took place in November 2007.
Taking place from January 29-31, Rally Ireland 2009 will travel through seven counties in Northern Ireland and the Republic, including Cavan, Leitrim, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Sligo, Donegal and Roscommon. Similar to the 2007 event, Rally Ireland will again be headquartered in Sligo town. It is the first time in 50 years that the opening round of the WRC is not based in Monte Carlo.
Rally Ireland will begin with a ceremonial start on Thursday evening January 29 in Enniskillen Castle.