This was one of my best ever rallies, that was Henning Solberg's verdict after he took a strong fourth on Rally Ireland at the weekend, the opening round in the 2009 World Rally Championship.

Henning, who is still relatively inexperienced on asphalt, ran in the points from the off working his way up from sixth to P4 by the end of the opening day. He then held on to that position on day two, although he came under increased pressure from Chris Atkinson.

Indeed at the start of Saturday, the Norwegian was more than 1.5 minutes in front, but by the conclusion of SS14 just 4.7 seconds separated them.

It was no surprise then on Sunday that he slipped back to fifth. However a switch from the Pirelli Sottozero winter tyre to the PZero dry weather tyre for the penultimate stage worked wonders and he was second quickest. At the same time Atkinson slipped up and in the end Henning finished in front by 1 minute 19.5 seconds.

Speaking in the final service, the Expert-backed man was over the moon, and with 14 top-six times he certainly earned his best ever result on the 'black stuff'.

"This is a big result for me. I worked really hard for this and it has been one of my best ever rallies. I used my head and did everything right, it's a good feeling," he reflected.

"The weather was very bad and that made the roads very difficult, but we made no mistakes and we have proved we can be fast on tarmac now.

"We had a good fight with Chris on the last day which was exciting for the fans. I'm happy to have got through it and get the points for the Stobart team."

Ford boss Malcolm Wilson meanwhile was very impressed with Henning's performance: "Henning's drive here has definitely been his best ever for the team," Wilson Sr added, "and he put in a really controlled and measured performance in the adverse conditions."



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