BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Mikko Hirvonen will join the biggest stars from world motorsport in Beijing later this year, when The Race of Champions takes place in the Bird's Nest Stadium on November 3-4.
Hirvonen, who currently heads last year's Race of Champions winner Sebastien Loeb in the battle for the 2009 WRC drivers' title after winning three consecutive rallies, is the first driver to be confirmed as racing for Team Finland in this year's event.
Hirvonen and his yet-to-be-announced team-mate will compete for national pride in the ROC Nations Cup on Tuesday 3 November, before going for individual glory in The Race of Champions on Wednesday 4.
“It's a pleasure to be invited to the Race of Champions in Beijing this year,” said Hirvonen. “I've never competed at the event before, only watched it as a spectator and so it will be interesting to see how it works and to drive the different cars. I'm also looking forward to visiting the famous 'Bird's Nest' Stadium; it looked like a spectacular venue when I watched the Olympics.
“I was in Beijing two years ago and I can't wait to go back there. It's a fantastic city and the Chinese people are really friendly and enthusiastic about the World Rally Championship so I'm sure they'll all come and see us racing inside their stadium. It will be nice to do something fun at the end of the season too.”
Fredrik Johnsson, president of Event Organisers IMP, is delighted to have added Hirvonen to the 2009 Race of Champions bill.
“Mikko has been driving brilliantly this year, and he's been having a fantastic battle with Loeb, who won The Race of Champions last year,” he continued. “I'm sure he'll get used to the format very quickly and prove a tough man to beat, and his driving style will be a big hit with the crowds.”