Franz Wittmann Jr believes the experience gained on the Belgium Ypres Rally in June will be highly advantageous when the Intercontinental Rally Challenge resumes in Russia next weekend.

The Austrian will tackle the gravel event based in Vyborg in a Mitsubishi Lancer E9 following a strong showing recently on the asphalt lanes of Ypres. There he was challenging for a top-ten finish until a puncture caused a driveshaft to failure and led to his retirement from the event.

If Wittmann can maintain his impressive start to the season in Russia then it will help the Mitsubishi-blessed Ralliart operation to maintain its second position in the IRC manufacturers' standings.

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"We entered the Ypres Rally knowing that we wouldn't stand much chance against 19 superior Super 2000 cars and several [of the latest] Mitsubishi Lancer Evo Xs on a 100 per cent tarmac rally," said Wittmann.

"But we can be a little bit proud that we managed to be eleventh in the intermediate classification as second-best non-Super 2000 car after six stages.

"In any case we learned a lot in Belgium and I hope that I can put these experiences into action in the future."

Wittmann is the only driver from Austria regularly competing in the series. He is currently 19th in the drivers' table.