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2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge

Posted: December 28, 2009 11:19 PM - 13046 Hits


Posted: December 28, 2009 11:16 PM

26 Mins of Action:

Franz Wittmann - School Report for 2009

Posted: November 25, 2009 4:36 PM

An interesting project by the Interwetten Racing Team had been presented to the public a little more than one year ago in Vienna. It dealt with the participation of Franz Wittmann/ Bernhard Ettel, in a Mitsubishi Evo IX by Stohl Racing, at eight runs of the Intercontinental Rallye Challenge (IRC).

The objective was to get accustomed to this international series, to get to know the stages and to reach one or more top ten results as best non-S2000-car despite the enginewise better equipped competition. A challenge that Interwetten driver Franz Wittmann mastered brilliantly.

“To me it was a really great year. I was able to learn a lot and I hope to realise the experience thus won in the future. Due to the car’s conceptual design I obviously stood better chances on gravel than on tarmac, where the lighter weight and the surplus of horse power of my competitors‘ cars played a decisive role. I am nevertheless highly satisfied. And I would like to heartily thank Interwetten, the Bezirksjournal, Stohl Racing and my co-driver Bernhard for their commitment and performance. Now I can only hope that we will manage to put together a package for next season that will enable us to take advantage of my gathered experience for 2010.”

Franz Wittmann/ Bernhard Ettel were the only Austrians who participated in an international rally series this year. Their results were not only noted by the local press but the name Franz Wittmann, after the earlier successes of his father, also once more carries some international weight.

If one is to hand out marks after the learning year of 2009, the school report would be as follows:

The Interwetten driver already proved his big talent at the premiere in Monte Carlo. At this snow rally he was in excellent 9th place until the last night before an engine damage forced him to retire. Mark 2

On one went to the Azores islands. Despite the most difficult conditions Franz Wittmann reached sixth overall place on gravel, which also won him his first IRC-points. Mark 1

Things went even better in Russia for the 26-years-old student from Lilienfeld. Here he reached a brilliant 5th overall place, once again on gravel. Mark 1

Belgium, on the other hand, hadn’t been worth the trip due to an early retirement. Mark 3

In the Czech Republic the Austrian shone after technical problems and a tyre damage by racing to catch up twice from 42nd place to a final 15th place in the end. Mark 1

In Spain the Interwetten driver once more gave a convincing performance and secured ninth overall place on tarmac. Mark 2

In San Remo he faced an overwhelming competition of 24 S2000 cars but the Lower Austrian nevertheless managed to finish in 19th place. Mark 2

This results in a remarkable mark average of 1,7. In a purely sportive sense, he reached a very good 13th place as best non-S2000-car in his first learning year in the IRC overall ranking.

Due to this very positive balance the planned eighth assignment in Scotland was cancelled. Yet the Lower Austrian didn’t rest on his laurels but completed the recce there for learning reasons.

In order to test a S2000 one decided to compete at the Rallye Waldviertel in a Peugeot 207. This mere testing assignement nevertheless led to a second overall place, only 10,7 seconds behind the winner.

Thereby, and through his successes in the IRC so far, Franz Wittmann has effectively proven that he currently is Austria’s biggest young hope on the international rally stage.

More Details:

Championship Points after Round 7 - Madeira

Posted: June 23, 2009 3:06 PM

1 Kris Meeke (GB) 34 points
2 Jan Kopecky (CZ) 29
3 Giandomenico Basso (I) 27
= Freddy Loix (B) 27
5 Nicolas Vouilloz (F) 19
6 Juho Hanninen (F) 14
7 Sebastien Ogier (F) 10
= Carl Tundo (EAK) 10
9 Alistair Cavanagh (GB) 8
= Bruno Magalhaes (P) 8

IRC Manufacturers' positions
1 Peugeot 82 points 2 Skoda 43
3 Ralliart 41
4 Abarth 34
5 Proton 5
6 Honda 1

Full Points on:


Posted: May 22, 2009 3:12 PM

Jasper van den Heuvel will contest three rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge this year, starting with next month's Belgium Ypres Rally. The 30-year-old Dutch driver is also planning to enter Barum Rally Zlin in Czech Republic in August before tackling the series finale, the RAC MSA Rally of Scotland, in November.

Van den Heuvel will drive a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X for his van den Heuvel Motorsport team, which could field as many as seven cars on the asphalt event.

"I want to show the Evo 10 is quick on what is, for me, the fastest rally in Europe and not just against the other Group N cars but the Super 2000 cars as well," said van den Heuvel. "I have a long history with this rally. My father used to drive on it and I did my first Ypres Rally when I was 23. I was second overall for a time in front of all these guys so it is a tradition for me to always try and do this rally."

Van den Heuvel said running seven cars in Ypres would not be a problem for this team.

"We are used to dealing with 11 cars on Dutch championship rallies so it is not a concern for me," said van den Heuvel.

Volkswagen confirms six-event IRC programme

Posted: April 10, 2009 9:42 PM

Volkswagen will return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge when the Rene Georges Rally Sport operation fields a Volkswagen Polo Super 2000 for rising star Julien Maurin.

The French driver, who has tested the car on asphalt in Belgium recently, is due to complete a test on gravel in his native France ahead of his planned outing on Sata Rally Azores from May 7-9, the fourth round of the IRC.

Jack de Keizjer, the co-ordinator of the Belgium-based Rene Georges Rally Sport team, said: "I am happy to confirm that Volkswagen will return to the IRC with the young French driver Julien Maurin."

Maurin recently tested the Volkswagen Polo in Belgium on asphalt. A test on gravel is being planned before Sata Rally Azores.

"He recently tested the Volkswagen Polo in Belgium on asphalt," de Keizjer said.

Maurin, who retired from the Monte Carlo Rally in January when his Astra Racing Fiat Grande Punto developed a mechanical fault, is set to use the latest evolution Volkswagen Polo for his six-event programme. Austrian driver Andreas Waldherr could appear in a second Rene Georges-run Polo.

Maurin will contest six rounds of the IRC in Azores, Belgium (Ypres), Madeira, Czech Republic (Barum), Spain (Astrurias) and Italy (Sanremo).


Posted: December 19, 2008 11:07 AM

Eurosport Events, the promoter of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, is delighted to announce that Proton will join the IRC in 2009 - following the recent competition debut of its new Satria Neo Super 2000 car. The Malaysian manufacturer becomes the seventh constructor to compete in the IRC series so far.

Proton joins Abarth, Honda, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Skoda and Volkswagen amongst the ranks of the IRC competitors, who go head-to-head on spectacular events this year, taking in both asphalt and gravel rallies. The IRC series is designed not only to showcase these unique events through the use of innovative television coverage, but also to provide manufacturers with a good promotional platform for customer competition business.

Since producing its first car in 1985 Proton has risen through the ranks of automotive manufacturing and has now exported cars to the UK, Western Europe, The Middle East, China, South East Asia, and Australasia. The company also has a tradition of motorsport, having won the Production Car World Rally Championship title in 2002 with the Proton PERT. Proton has also been the owner of Group Lotus since 1997: an iconic name from the past in motor racing.

In line with many other manufacturers Proton has now moved on to embrace the Super 2000 formula. Since making its competition debut at the end of last year, the Proton Satria Neo S2000 has marked itself out as a car to watch.

Marcello Lotti, the IRC's General Manager, commented: "We are absolutely delighted to welcome Proton into the IRC family, which goes from strength to strength. The new Satria Neo S2000 has already attracted a lot of praise in its short career to date. I have no doubt that Proton will quickly find success with competitive rally customers on IRC events, as well as on national and regional championships that are based on S2000 technical regulations."

Proton Managing Director, Datuk Syed Zainal, added "The IRC provides the ideal format for manufacturers to showcase their products around the world. We are very excited to register for the IRC this year, alongside many of the leading manufacturers in motorsport. Although we are still developing the Proton, the IRC will provide the perfect opportunity to gauge the competitiveness of the car, and ultimately to take the project forward."

The IRC is an intercontinental rally series authorised by the FIA, which got underway at the start of this year with the Monte Carlo Rally: the oldest and prestigious event in the history of the sport.

The second round of the series took place last week in Brazil, at the Rally Internacional de Curitiba.

Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle confirmed in a Peugeot UK 207 S2000

Posted: December 16, 2008 1:22 PM

Peugeot UK today confirmed their intention to field a Peugeot 207 S 2000 driven by Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle in next year’s IRC rally championship. Peugeot UK have teamed up with Kronos Racing to prepare and support a Peugeot 207 S 2000 in next year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC).

The IRC Challenge will be contested over twelve rounds starting with the legendary Monte Carlo Rally in January and finishing in November with the RAC MSA Rally of Scotland.

Driving the Peugeot UK car will be Kris Meeke who, has previously driven for Kronos, when he was third overall in the Junior World Rally Championship in 2005. Kris, previous winner of the British Super 1600 and British Junior championship, will be co-driven by Paul Nagle.

The Peugeot 207 S 2000 has already become the car to beat in the IRC challenge where it has secured the manufacturers and driver’s championship, in both 2007 and 2008.

Kris Meeke “This is an incredible opportunity for both myself and Paul! It brings my career somewhat full circle, as my first introduction to rally was through a Peugeot UK supported competition in 2000. Some awesome and diverse challenges lie ahead in the 2009 IRC, but I can rest assured that with the championship winning pedigree of Peugeot and Kronos, I will have the best opportunity in order to prove my abilities in the coming season!”

Pierre Louis Colin (Managing Director Peugeot UK)
“I very pleased we have been able to enter next years IRC championship with Kris. Rallying is in the blood of Peugeot and it is a good demonstration of the dynamism of Peugeot cars, especially the 207. We know we have a winning car, and in Kris and Paul we also have a winning team. In these difficult times it is important that you make sound commercial decisions but it is also important to communicate to your customers in a positive way your brand and your commitment to it”

Eurosport – Europe’s largest TV channel – will broadcast extensive coverage from every round, including several live shows, that will reach 110 million homes in 59 countries across the world. In addition, there will be innovative on and off event publicity for every round. The 2009 Rallye Monte Carlo will benefit from a total of four hours of live television coverage.


Posted: November 26, 2008 12:20 PM

  1. Monte Carlo Rally - 21-24 Jan 09
  2. Brazil Rally Internacional de Curitiba - 05-07 Mar 09
  3. Kenya (TBC) Safari Rally - 03-04 Apr 09 (*)
  4. Portugal Sata Rally Acores - 07-09 May 09
  5. Ypres Rally - 18-20 Jun 09
  6. Rally Russia - 09-11 Jul 09
  7. Madeira - 30 Jul-01 Aug 09
  8. Barum Rally (Czech Republic) - 21-23 Aug 09
  9. Spain Rally Principe de Asturias - 10-12 Sep 09
  10. Rally Sanremo (Italy) - 24-26 Sep 09
  11. Rally of Scotland - 19-21 Nov 09

MSA confirms Scottish IRC round in 2009

Posted: October 19, 2008 7:50 PM

MSA Performance Director and former World Rally Champion co-driver, Robert Reid, was in Glasgow on Tuesday (14th October) to join Scotland's First Minister, the Rt Hon Alec Salmond MSP, at the announcement of a Scottish round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) in 2009.  

The announcement of the event, secured by EventScotland the national events agency working in partnership with Stirling and Perth and Kinross Councils, was made by the First Minister who confirmed that Scotland will stage the final round of the prestigious IRC from 19-21 November next year, forming a centrepiece event within the Homecoming Scotland 2009 celebrations.  

Making the announcement the First Minister of Scotland, the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP said: "Scotland's reputation for leading innovation and setting new standards in the motor sport industry makes it an ideal location for the Intercontinental Rally Challenge final. The event will be made even more special as it will be one of the signature events in our Homecoming programme. For 2009 we are inviting Scotland's friends and family to return home to celebrate our strengths and culture. Today that invitation is being extended to the countless rally fans and enthusiasts around the world. With dramatic landscapes, warm hospitality and fierce competition - I hope that many will answer the Homecoming rally call."  

Alan Gow, Chairman of both the MSA and its commercial subsidiary International Motor Sports (IMS), who will organise and promote the event, said: "The MSA and IMS are delighted to be able to make this announcement. Rallying has a great heritage in Scotland and I'm sure that there will be drivers and fans around the world who will be thrilled at the prospect of the IRC event being held there. This will be a world-class event of which Scotland can be truly proud and we look forward to working with everyone to make that a reality."  

The Intercontinental Rally Challenge was introduced in 2006 as a new rally series, carrying the endorsement of the FIA and is closely based on production cars, with 2 litre, normally aspirated engines. This format is designed to attract more manufacturers to the sport and is now supported by Fiat, Honda, Mitsubishi, Peugeot and Volkswagen.  

The international-status event will be decided by three days of competitive driving over timed Special Stages on closed Forestry Commission Scotland gravel roads in Stirling and Perth and Kinross and will include a ceremonial start, service stop and high profile village featuring additional activity for the many thousands of spectators expected.  

Paul Bush Chief Operating Officer of EventScotland, the national events agency, said: "Today's announcement is fantastic news for Scotland and demonstrates yet again our nation's credentials as the perfect stage for major international events. Scotland hasn't hosted a rally of this stature for 20 years and staging the final round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge provides an opportunity to further enhance Scotland's reputation within the motor sport industry."

Monte Carlo Rally to join IRC in 2009

Posted: October 19, 2008 7:49 PM

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