Sebastien Loeb will give Norway's Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, a ride in a Citroen C4 hybrid WRC car when Rally Norway opens at Bjerkebanen in Oslo this Thursday.
The second round in the 2009 World Rally Championship will be opened officially by the mayor of Oslo, Fabian Stang and the leader of Hedmark county council, Siv Tørudbakken.
Before they do that though, Stoltenberg will experience a real lap of the Bjerkebane racecourse as part of the opening show in the minutes before the other rally stars take to the arena for the rally proper.
“To have the prime minister here in the world's only rally-hybrid car is just fantastic,” said Even Wiger, managing director of Rally Norway. “It sends a signal that motorsport is a great platform for developing new environmentally-friendly vehicle technology.
“He is an enthusiastic supportive of Rally Norway, just as he was in 2007. He values our commitment to environmental causes and can clearly see that the event is positive for Norway's profile internationally.”
The car itself meanwhile is big news as it is regarded as something of a prototype of the WRC cars of the future.
The Citroen C4, which is to be driven at Bjerke, uses hybrid-technology, which means that it is powered by an electric motor on transport stages and charges the battery during braking, something which significantly reduces climate-harming CO2 emissions.
“This shows that motorsport is setting an example and becoming more conscious about limiting environmental consequences. The rally-hybrid, along with other special vehicles using alternative fuel, will be on display at Rally Norway's HQ all weekend,” Wiger added.