Juho Hanninen's defense of his Intercontinental Rally Challenge title will continue in Ukraine this week after Skoda confirmed an entry for the Finn.
Despite Hanninen's victory on the second round of this year's IRC, his participation in the championship this year remains on a round-by-round basis. The official Skoda communication confirms his entry is being supported by the Ukrainian importer.
Skoda Motorsport team principal Michal Hrabanek said: "There will be some rallies where Juho will compete, but we discuss this with the importers. His focus is in the World Rally Championship [for the Super 2000 WRC].
"It would not have been possible for him to compete in Corsica [the previous IRC round] because he would not have had time to recover from Sardinia [the SWRC round which ran a week earlier]. In Belgium he will probably not [compete] and we will see for the UK."
Beyond this week's Yalta Rally, the one event which is certain for Hanninen is the Barum Rally in Czech Republic in August.
"We would like to show Juho for the Barum Rally," said Harabanek. "That's like the Monte Carlo Rally for us. He was second there last time."
Hanninen himself remains keen to contest as many IRC rounds as possible. Talking about his sporting debut on the Crimean coast this week, he said: "In the first place, it's great that I and Mikko [Markkula, co-driver] are back in the IRC again. I don't have a clue what the local tracks look like – in this respect, this rally will surely be a big challenge for all the teams to take part.
"After quite some time, this is an event that is new for nearly all of the drivers to appear on the start line. I'd love to win there, that's for sure, but it will no doubt be very difficult – the last few events have shown clearly that the quality of IRC is improving all the time."
Going into this week's fourth round, Belgian Freddy Loix leads the title race by five points from Hanninen's Skoda factory teammate Jan Kopecky. Tour de Corse winner Thierry Neuville is third with Hanninen fourth, 12 points behind Loix.