Per-Gunnar Andersson has welcomed the inclusion of the Ukraine's Prime Yalta Rally on the IRC calendar for the first time this year.

The Swede, who is embarking on his first full season of IRC competition in a Proton Satria Neo Super 2000, reckons events like the Ukrainian asphalt rally, which takes place from 2-4 June, should make his rookie year slightly easier.

"I've heard lots of good things about the event," said the 30-year-old. "I saw the book from the launch of the event and it looks like a really nice place with some great roads.

"I have never been to the Ukraine before, but I'm happy with new rallies because it's the same for everybody. Everybody is making a new set of pacenotes for the first time and nobody really knows what is coming."

Proton team principal Chris Mellors meanwhile recently visited the Ukraine and admitted he was impressed with what he'd seen.

"It's a great place," he continued. "The organisers will put on a very, very good round of the IRC and I think it's very exciting that we're going out to these new events.

"The Ukraine is an emerging market for car manufacturers; Proton is investigating the possibility of selling cars there, and there's no doubt it's going to provide a great rally. Taking rallying to a whole new audience is what the IRC is about and this audience is going to be very, very appreciative."