Stobart Ford's Henning Solberg is hoping to start the new World Rally Championship season with a top-six result on the Rally Ireland.

Henning has been gradually building up his experience on asphalt over the last few years and scored his first ever points on the 'black stuff' on the Rallye Deutschland in August last summer, when he brought his M-Sport-run Ford Focus RS WRC car home in seventh place.

Now he wants to try and break into the top six and get his 2009 campaign off to a positive start.

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Like most of the runners he has little experience of the Sligo-based event and while he did do it in 2007, when Ireland hosted a WRC event for the first and only time, it didn't go especially smoothly.

Indeed not only did he end up tackling the '07 event with a replacement co-driver, after regular navigator Cato Menkerud was forced to pull out at the last minute when wife Charlotte gave birth to their second child, but he also crashed out on day 1 and thus could only finish 16th overall.

"I don't have a lot of experience on asphalt but when I competed on this rally in 2007 I was running in the top six on the first day, which was very good," he stated, conveniently not mentioning his off in SS8.

"It's not a true tarmac rally because there is so much gravel and mud dragged across the road and I cope with these conditions better.

"The most difficult things about the stages are the high-speed sections and the unpredictable bumps, and it's hard to get a good feeling with the car.

"We found a good setting on some tarmac events last year and with a test planned pre-event I'm sure we'll start the rally with more confidence than before.

"I'd really like to start the year off well, and a finish inside the top six would be a good boost ahead of my home event in Norway two weeks later," he summed-up.