Mon 14 September 2009
- Ten-times WRC winner and current Drivers’ Championship leader to make Race Of Champions debut in Beijing
- Hirvonen to race Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and more in Bird’s Nest Stadium after WRC and F1 seasons finish
FIA World Rally Championship leader Mikko Hirvonen will join the biggest stars from world motorsport in Beijing this November, 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 Sébastien Loeb in the WRC points after winning three consecutive rallies, is the first driver to be confirmed as racing for Team Finland in this year’s event. He 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, said of Hirvonen: “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. 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.”
The Race of Champions brings together the greatest drivers from the world of motorsport with stars of Formula 1, rallying, sports cars, touring cars and even NASCAR fighting against each other in identical machinery. A parallel asphalt track will be constructed inside the Bird’s Nest stadium, with drivers going head-to-head for the ultimate title of “Champion of Champions.”