The MSA Scottish Rally Championship has announced that tyre giant Hankook is to sponsor the 2009 series.

The new deal follows the ending of five years of successful sponsorship by the County Saab motor group.

Hankook's involvement will include a fully-supported Group N Championship with incentives for registered competitors.

There will also be an expanded Junior training programme, which will include a fully-funded prize drive on a European or Far East event. The successful young driver will receive pre-event driving tuition from a top driver with international experience.

"We are delighted to have concluded this groundbreaking deal with such a high-profile international company," said SRC chairman Campbell Roy. "Hankook brings a wealth of motorsport experience to the SRC and will undoubtedly assist us in further raising the profile of the sport in Scotland."

Hankook's involvement in the UK rally scene has included success with the SJR Hankook Rally Team, and the long-term support of top drivers - both in the UK and overseas.

"We are delighted to be focussing our attention in 2009 on the Scottish Rally Championship - a series which attracts some intense competition," added Hankook motorsport manager, Mike Patterson. "Support of motorsport at all levels is at the heart of Hankook's plans, and in particular, the high profile prize for the Juniors is testament to this commitment".

Leading competitor Mike Faulkner - who finished runner-up to Jimmy Girvan in this year's championship - said the involvement of Hankook would take the series to 'a whole new level'.

Dates for the 2009 Hankook MSA Scottish Rally Championship are as follows:

14 February Arnold Clark Thistle Snowman Rally 21 March Brick & Steel Border Counties Rally 25 April The Station Garage Mitsubishi Granite City Rally 24 May Jim Clark Reivers Rally 27 June RSAC Scottish Rally 8 August Gleaner Speyside Stages 5 September Merrick Forest Stages 3 October Colin McRae Forest Stages

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