Aaron Burkart began his bid to win the 2009 Junior World Rally Championship perfectly on Rally Ireland last weekend, by taking the victory and the maximum ten points.

Burkart, who finished runner-up in '08, had never actually won a J-WRC event before, but he was in contention from the off in Sligo.

Indeed the German led pretty much throughout and while he did come under pressure from Hans Weijs Jr, who ironically was running in the same Citroen C2 S1600 Aaron used last season, the matter resolved itself, when the Dutchman crashed heavily in the final test on day two.

Burkart then went on to win by over 40 seconds and he was absolutely delighted to get that first win on his first outing since switching to the Suzuki Swift.

"I'm very, very happy. I don't know what to say. We started with a new team, I started with a new car and the first rally we are doing together is my first win in the JWRC. It's quite a lot of firsts so it's quite impressive," he explained.

"I had a good feeling from the start and luckily the Suzuki was strong enough to cover a small accident we had on stage 3 [when I aquaplaned off the road].

"For the rest of the rally it was very difficult with a lot of mud and water on the streets. We made it to the finish though and I'm very happy with that."

Asked how he found his new steed, he noted that his pre-event shakedown was extremely beneficial.

"We went to the pre-event test on Monday and this was very helpful. It was very muddy there as well," he continued. "The circumstances were not as wet but quite comparable, I think we made a good job over there.

"The main difference [between the Swift and C2] is that you don't feel the limit of the car as easy as you do with the Citroens, you have to be very confident with it and just drive."

As for the conditions, like most of the runners, he found the going tough, although his outing on the Galway Rally seemed to give him a bit of an edge.

"We did the Galway Rally recently and there was stormy weather there as well, like heavy wind and some streets were flooded. I came here and thought it couldn't get worse but it did get worse!"

Burkart will now go to Cyprus, the next round in the JWRC in March, looking to maintain his strong start to the year, although he knows it won't be easy.

"It will be interesting - it is the first time that they split the rally between gravel and tarmac. I've heard we will use the gravel tyres on tarmac and I never did this, so this will be the next challenge," he summed-up.



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