The 2009 Rally Ireland took place between the 30th of January and the 1st of February. It had replaced the Monte Carlo Rally as the opening round of the championship and is set entirely on Tarmac. Rain came along for the majority of the rally which led to 2 stages being cancelled. Since there are only 12 rounds in the championship, the drivers can't afford any zero points for a rally. Sebastien Loeb won ahead of team-mate Dani Sordo and Ford hotshot Mikko Hirvonen. The results are on the official WRC website at .
Ford's Mikko Hirvonen's title prospects are glimmering for this year after he took fastest time on the 2.87km stage at Formoyle, 6 miles away from the service park at Silgo. Sebastien Loeb took 2nd fastest, 4 tenths of a second slower than the Ford ahead of Chris Atkinson and Dani Sordo. Rain is forcast for the rest of the event so it would be really slippery out on the stages.
Day 1 Edit
Sebastien Loeb was unstoppable in the Citroen C4. His only real challenger was Stobart VK Ford's Urmo Aava. Sadly Aava fell into a ditch on SS6. No damage was caused but the time loss opted Aava to retire from the day. Loeb's team-mate Dani Sordo was second overall but he was being hunted down by Mikko Hirvonen who had the gap down to 20 seconds by the end of the day. Henning Solberg is fourth but a massive 3 minutes down on Loeb. Youngsters Conrad Rautenbach and Sebastien Ogier are fifth and sixth respectibly. Chris Atkinson completes the day 7th but is just ahead of Matthew Wilson. Of the days casualties, Jari-Matti Latvala was forced to retire on stage 3. A shock on SS1 happened, the S2000 car of Niall Mcshea set third fastest time! Unfortunately Mcshea had problems later on and found himself nearly half an hour off the pace.
Day 2 Edit
On the opening stage of the day, Rautenbach retired from the day. Ogier lost lots of time as well which dropped him down to eighth. This moved Atkinson up into 5th place and he was closing in fast on Stobart VK Ford's Henning Solberg. Mikko Hirvonen had 2nd placed Sordo in his sights until power steering failure struck his car. When he reached service, he was more than a minute off the C4. At the end of the day, Loeb was more than a minute in front of his team-mate. Mikko Hirvonen was more than a minute behind Sordo and decided it was too late to fight for second. Henning Solberg was 4th but was being closed in by Chris Atkinson, who had the gap down to just 4.7 seconds. Ogier had fought back after his off and was sixth, just ahead of Matthew Wilson. Khalid Al Quassimi in his Ford was 8th.
Day 3 Edit
Day 3 started with Chris Atkinson on a mission. He passed Henning Solberg for 4th but Solberg was not letting go of the battle for 4th. Meanwhile Sebastien Ogier was pulling away from Matthew Wilson in the battle for 6th. On the penaultimate stage, Loeb had scare when his Citroen lost control for 60 metres before getting it back on the road. Sadly, Chris Atkinson was not so lucky. He got stuck on a rock ledge and lost his 4th place to Henning Solberg. Loeb crossed the line on the final stage to win rally Ireland. Sordo finished a good second with Mikko Hirvonen taking the final podium position.
Rally Ireland 2009 Results Edit
1 Sebastien Loeb Citroen C4 18.104.22.168
2 Dani Sordo Citroen C4 +1.27.9
3 Mikko Hirvonen Ford Focus +2.07.8
4 Henning Solberg Ford Focus +6.32.4
5 Chris Atkinson Citroen C4 +7.51.9
6 Sebastien Ogier Citroen C4 +10.44.0
7 Matthew Wilson Ford Focus +11.23.8
8 Khalid Al Quassimi Ford Focus +14.07.9
1 Sebastien Loeb 10 pts
2 Dani Sordo 8 pts
3 Mikko Hirvonen 6 pts
4 Henning Solberg 5 pts
5 Chris Atkinson 4 pts
6 Sebastien Ogier 3 pts
7 Matthew Wilson 2 pts
8 Khalid Al Quassimi 1 pt
Manufacturers Championship Edit
1 Citroen Total World Rally Team 18 pts
2 BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team 8 pts
2 Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team 8 pts
4 Citroen Junior Rally Team 5 pts
5 Munchi's Ford World Rally Team 0 pts