Hankook to support Gardemeister in IRC campaign
Hankook Tire says it is aiming for championship success in the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) after signing up to support driver Toni Gardemeister and his team. The Finnish driver will contest selected rounds in a Hankook shod Skoda S2000, beginning with next month’s Rally Canarias.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Hankook again,’’ said Gardemeister, who drove with Hankook in its early IRC testing phase in 2009. “The Skoda is a proven car in the IRC and the Hankook tyres have performed brilliantly on these events in the last couple of years so I’m delighted with the package which we have put together.’’ Gardemeister added that the IRC is a tremendous championship providing some of the best action in rallying with top class drivers and extremely close competition with the S2000 cars.
Hankook UK motorsport manager Mike Patterson said he was thrilled that a driver of Gardemeister’s pedigree had chosen Hankook tyres for this new venture. “The tyres have been used extensively on IRC rounds in the last few years and have proven themselves time and time again on gravel and asphalt and in both wet and dry conditions which gives us tremendous confidence for this new project,’’ said Patterson. “The Hankook tyres together with the competitive Skoda and the skills of Toni and his co-driver Tapio Suominen provide a mouth watering combination.’’
Rally Canarias is one of eight rallies to feature in Gardemeister’s 2011 campaign, and the first he will tackle in the Skoda S2000. “Having driven for Skoda in the past I know the car will be good and I look forward to testing the package before we really get started in Canarias,’’ he commented. Gardemeister’s race season runs for six months and concludes with Rally Scotland on October 14 to 16.