Rallyday has confirmed that Harri Rovanpera will drive MML Sports' new R4 Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionX at this year's edition of the UK's premier rally car show at Castle Combe circuit on Saturday 17th September.
The news is a major coup for the event, now in its eleventh year, as the 'Flying Finn' enjoyed a long and illustrious career in the FIA World Rally Championship, competing in over 100 events and notching up 15 podiums – including winning in Sweden in 2001 – during spells with manufacturers such as Mitsubishi, SEAT and Peugeot.
Rovanpera is just one of a number of celebrities being lined-up for the annual rally extravaganza, which regularly draws in over 10,000 spectators and which in previous years attracted a host of other 'Flying Finns' including Ari Vatanen, Hannu Mikkola, Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala.
Rovanpera competed with Mitsubishi during its final season in the FIA World Rally Championship in 2005 and is excited about being reunited with his former team, which continues today as MML Sports. Harri will attend with his son, Kalle, who started driving rally cars when he was just seven years-old.
“I am looking forward to coming to Rallyday,” said Harri. “It will be the first time for me and that will be really nice. I will be coming with my son who is just starting out in rallying.
“I am really happy to be attending with Mitsubishi too. Some of my best memories are with Mitsubishi and it will be good to be back with them after so many years. The last WRC event I did with them was in Australia at the end of the 2005 season. I finished second there in the Lancer WRC05. It was great.”
MML Sports Managing Director John Easton meanwhile is looking forward to supporting the event again, especially as Mitsubishi has had a presence at Rallyday for virtually every single year. He is also keen to show off the latest R4 Lancer EvolutionX - a new category of rally car, essentially an FIA-approved upgrade to existing Group N regulations to increase car performance and help ensure parity with the Super 2000 cars.
“We're looking forward to giving the R4 EvoX its UK debut at Rallyday this year as it's something we would like everybody to see. Rallyday has always been a good event for us and it will be nice to have Harri back in one of our cars again,” added John.
Rallyday organisers, Brian Stubbings and Darin Frow are both delighted that Rovanpera and MML Sports have agreed to attend the event: “It is fantastic to welcome a new 'Flying Finn' to the show and he seems really up for it. Harri is a great personality for us to have at Rallyday and he is a flamboyant driver, which will be great for the spectators,” said Brian.
“We're delighted to be able to confirm Harri,” added Darin. “He hasn't been before and it's great to see him bringing his son too which just confirms it really is a great family day out! The fact that we're also reuniting Harri with his old team is just perfect and we're really looking forward to seeing John and MML Sports back at Rallyday.”
Further announcements will be made by the Rallyday organisers in due course.
Tickets for Rallyday 2011 are on sale now and prices remain held at 2010 levels. However, spectator tickets purchased before September 1st 2011 cost £13 per adult - a 35 per cent discount compared to those purchased on the day, so pre-book and save yourself £7.00. Accompanied children under 16 can enter for FREE.
For more information please visit www.rallyday.com