Austrian driver Franz Wittmann has confirmed that he will take part in seven events on the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge, starting with the upcoming Monte Carlo Rally.

The 25-year-old, who finished second in his national series last season, will drive a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX after securing backing from Interwetten for the year ahead which will be his first full campaign on competition at international level.

"We are steering a straight course and won't deviate from it," he said. "Obviously the teams with S2000 cars will be dominating. But our Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX by Stohl-Racing is a very reliable car which carried us to the title of Vice-Champion in the National Austrian Championship. Our goal, as mentioned many times, is to learn by each completed kilometer to assert ourselves in international rallying. Therefore the performance is what counts rather than the place in the end.

"This is a real challenge that I'm looking forward to. I will prepare very carefully for each run. I know that this season is not only a year of learning but also will be quite decisive for my future career. Of course, I owe it to my partner Interwetten to present myself both professionally and successfully."

Thomas Daubek from Interwetten said the company was pleased to enter into partnership with the youngster.

"It was our definite decision to support a young driver," he said. "Franz Wittmann fits our brand and we want to accompany him on this way even if we can't expect victories at the beginning. Franz shall have the opportunity to get acquainted with this motor sports series and move up to the top step by step."

Interwetten Racing will take part in the Monte Carlo Rally as well as Rally Acores, the Ypres Rally, the Barum Rally, the Rally Asturias, the Rally Sanremo and the season's finale in Scotland. The eighth run will be decided between the Rally Russia and the Rali Madeira.