Rally Ireland entry list announced
- 7th January 2009, 9:17pm
The entry list for the WRC season-opener, Rally Ireland, has been announced with 74 starters including over 20 World Rally Cars.
The factory Citroen and Ford teams have, as expected, made no changes to their driver line-ups from 2008. Sebastien Loeb/Daniel Elena and Dani Sordo/Marc Marti will represent the French marque, while Ford has nominated Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila. Khalid Al Qassimi/Michael Orr will enter a third factory Ford Focus RS WRC.
One of the sport's rising stars, Estonian Urmo Aava, has switched manufacturers for his 2009 WRC assault. After competing in a Citroen last season, he will now pilot a Ford Focus with the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford outfit. Aava is expected to contest eight WRC rounds this season.
For Rally Ireland, Aava will join Stobart regular Matthew Wilson as the second points nominated driver, whilst Henning Solberg will drive a third car for the team.
Citroenâ€™s brand new Junior Team is represented by three crews. Reigning Junior World Rally Champions Sebastien Ogier/Julian Ingrassia and ex-Subaru driver, Aussie Chris Atkinson, with Stephane Prevot alongside, are the nominated points scorers, while Conrad Rautenbach/Daniel Barritt will drive a third C4 WRC.
Other World Rally Cars to contest Rally Ireland have mainly been entered by local drivers and they include Welshman Gareth Jones in a Subaru Impreza, and the the McHale family, Austin, Gareth and Aaron, who will each drive Ford Focuses.
One notable absentee from the entry list is former World Rally Champion, Petter Solberg, who is yet to confirm a WRC program for 2009. Solberg missed the entry deadline for Rally Ireland after Subaru's shock decision to withdraw from this year's Championship just before Christmas.
Rally Ireland kicks off on January 30.
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