Thursday, January 24, 2008

Flying Finns

Aha, “Betcha” thought this catchy title referred to another story about the “Ronster’s” (Ron Dennis) penchant for hiring Finnish drivers, “Ya, Sure, Yuh Betcha!” Which used to be part of Redhook Ales Ballard Bitter’s slogan, but I digress…

While most of us are either busy watchin’ all of the new paint dry in Day-toner testin’ or the upcoming Rolex 24 marathon. The BP Ford WRC Rally team has previously announced its new for 2008 driver line-up, with ex-WRC champion Marcus Gronholm having retired at the end of 2007.

The BP Ford team began its all Finnish driver line-up in 2006 with the addition of Mikko Hirvonen as Gronholm’s teammate. Now Hirvonen will be joined by another aspiring Finnish flyer, Jari-Matti Latvala.

Ford hopes that Hirvonen, who had a rough beginning in the World Rally Championship (2003) has matured into a challenger to defeat four time reigning WRC champion Sebastian Loeb. Hirvonen, won three WRC events enroute to finishing third overall in the 2007 challenge, helping Ford secure the Manufacturer’s crown.

And although you’ll be unlikely to see any of these amazing race cars on the “Tellie,” nevertheless the 2008 World Rally Championship season begins with the Monte Carlo Rally on January 25-27…

For a pre-season preview, see; 2008 WRC Preview