WRC Announce Rally Ireland Entry List
Nothing has changed in terms of drivers' lineup for the two leading teams of the WRC. Sebastien Loeb and Daniel Elena will continue to partner Daniel Sordo and Marc Marti for defending champions Citroen, while Ford works team will present themselves with 3 factory cars: Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen, Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila and Khalid Al Qassimi/Michael Orr.
As far as the independent teams go, there are a few changes in this year's lineup that are not to be overlooked. First of all, Estonian driver Urmo Aava (formerly competing for PH Sport on a Citroen C4 WRC) was announced as official driver of Ford's second WRC team Stobart VK M-Sport.
According to wrc.com, Aava's collaboration with Stobart will not end after the event in Ireland but will continue through 8 rounds of the 2009 season. The Estonian, who will celebrate his 30th anniversary one shortly after Rally Ireland (February 2nd), will therefore join Justin Wilson and Henning Solberg as official drivers for Malcolm Wilson's outfit.
Despite leaving the championship in mid-December, Subaru will be present in Ireland through private teams. Stephen Murphy, Tim McNulty, Eamonn Boland and Welshman Gareth Jones are to compete in the season opener on Subaru Imprezas.
As announced just before the Christmas holidays, Citroen will debut their Junior Team in Ireland, represented by three crews: Sebastien Ogier/Julian Ingrassia, Conrad Rautenbach/Daniel Barritt and former Subaru drivers Chris Atkinson/Stephane Prevot. Citroen are yet to unveil Atkinson's role with the team in the future, as the Australian was confirmed by the Citroen Junior Team for the Irish event only.