The organisers of the Rally Ireland, the opening round in the 2009 World Rally Championship, have had to cancel this evening's two night stages, due to severe flooding.

A statement on the events official website read: "A combination of heavy rain, high winds and flooding left Rally Ireland 2009 organisers with no alternative but to cancel tonight's two stages for safety reasons."

"We are especially disappointed for all the fans who were looking forward to seeing the stars of the FIA World Rally Championship on their doorstep," added Gordon Noble, Rally Ireland's clerk of the course. "All we can do is look forward to better conditions tomorrow."

SS7, the 24.70 kilometre Murley test had been due to start at 18.54 hours, with SS8, the 14.77 km Fardross stage beginning at 19.39 hours.

Loeb, who currently leads the event by 44.4 seconds, was disappointed, but noted that it was probably for the best - especially given how bad things were this morning on the first loop.

"I don't have a lot of information on the reasons for cancellation but if the organisation decided to cancel these stages they must have had a good reason," stated the Frenchman.

"When we saw the conditions this morning and it wasn't cancelled ...if it was worse then I think it was the right choice."

The action will now continue on Saturday, with SS9, the 27.76 km Sloughan Glen 1 test, scheduled to start at 08.13 hours [all times local].