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2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

Posted: March 27, 2011 5:27 PM - 17591 Hits

NEW FIGURES REVEAL IMPRESSIVE UPTURN IN IRC TV AUDIENCES

Posted: March 27, 2011 5:27 PM

A cumulative global reach of 79 million people watched coverage of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in 2010, series promoter Eurosport Events is delighted to confirm.

The figures published by the independent German sports research consultancy IFM Sports Group at the recent SpoBis, Europe’s largest sports business conference, in Dusseldorf, Germany, represent a 48 per cent increase over the figure recorded in 2009 when a cumulative audience of 53 million was achieved.

IFM’s annual broadcast report shows that the IRC received 432 hours of transmission time in 2010, which was made up of the IRC’s 12 qualifying rounds and the Golden Stage Rally, an innovative standalone event taking place on a single special stage at the end of the season. The figure represents a nearly three-time increase over 2009 when 158 hours of IRC coverage was broadcast.

Eurosport Events, the IRC’s promoter, has distributed footage of the series to 80 television channels around the world. Eurosport, Europe’s leading sports entertainment group, is the host broadcaster of the series and its comprehensive umbrella coverage throughout Europe and Asia Pacific was up by 36 per cent, but represented 60 per cent of the global audience figures (vs. 74 per cent in 2009). This change marks a major achievement as it demonstrates the increased distribution of IRC footage to other TV networks worldwide.

Geraldine Filiol, Managing Director of Eurosport Events, said:
“We are delighted with the excellent figures published by IFM, which proves the IRC’s popularity is growing steadily. We have also achieved a significant result by embarking on new partnerships with a number of other television networks around the world, which is in addition to our extensive core coverage on Eurosport.”

IFM’s report comes on the back of viewing figures released following the centenary edition of the world famous Rallye Monte-Carlo last month. The opening round of the 2011 IRC season enjoyed a new record cumulative reach of 14 million (*) different viewers, an increase of two million from 2010, who watched Eurosport and Eurosport 2’s live coverage of the event.

IFM is the world’s leading sports research consultancy specialising in media and sponsorship research and analysis, television viewing data collection and measurement of sponsorship ROI (return on investment).

Second overall for Mikkelsen on Rally of Scotland

Posted: November 10, 2010 12:19 PM

The fast and technical stages on Rally of Scotland provided the perfect backdrop for Norwegian rally ace Andreas Mikkelsen to prove his speed and maturity with a career best second overall in the Hankook Ford Fiesta S2000.

The 21 year old and co-driver Ole Fløene enjoyed an almost trouble-free run during the gruelling three day event in Scotland. “We hit a small deer on the first full day of competition but apart from that everything worked well.’’

New tyres developed by Hankook provided a massive boost for the team in the M-Sport prepared car and a puncture-free run enabled Andreas to concentrate on his driving.

“We have a new tyre from Hankook here and it made a lot of difference for us,’’ he said. “It has a softer sidewall on the tyre, which means we can run with the car stiffer, meaning we dont have to compromise the set-up of the car at all.’’

Testing earlier in the week provided the team with valuable set up data and Hankook UK motorsport manager Mike Patterson who is in charge of the IRC programme said this proved extremely valuable.

“Our involvement as sponsor of the Hankook Scottish Rally Championship means we know how tricky and challenging the stages are in Scotland so the focus was on providing Andreas with a tyre which could not only provide the grip he needed but also to avoid costly punctures,’’ said Mike.

“We’re delighted that we delivered on both counts and the reward was a thrilling battle at the front of the rally and the first podium finish for the team and Andreas who also set a fastest time on one of the high speed stages.’’

Mike said the fast but technical nature of the stages suited the driver and demonstrated the capabilities of the tyres perfectly. “We started our IRC campaign with extremely good tyres and the ongoing development work is really paying off,’’ said Mike. “To be able to achieve second overall on such a prestigious championship is tremendous and we now look forward to our final outing of the year in Cyprus next month.

ŠKODA OFFICIALLY AWARDED THE 2010 IRC CHAMPION HONOURS

Posted: November 10, 2010 11:04 AM

Škoda has officially been awarded the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) Manufacturers’ Champions title, while Juho Hänninen & Mikko Markkula of Škoda Motorsport (factory team) have received the 2010 IRC Drivers’ Champions title.

This fantastic achievement by Škoda is underlined by the ‘runner-up’ position for Škoda Motorsports drivers Jan Kopecký & Petr Starý. Kris Meek (Peugeot), the winner of the series last year, finished third. Michal Hrabánek, Head of Škoda Motorsport, received the Manufacturers’ trophy on behalf of the brand.

Škoda's factory team took part in 11 of this year's 12 IRC events and celebrated victory at seven of them. Besides these wins, Škoda crews achieved a further 17 podium positions. Hänninen & Markkula won in Argentina, Sardinia and Scotland; Loix & Miclott in Belgium, Madeira and the Czech Republic; and Kopecký & Starý in the Canary Islands. Importer teams supported by Škoda did very well, too, such as Škoda UK Motorsport Driver, Guy Wilks, who had podium finishes in Brazil, Argentina and Canary Islands. The success of the Fabia Super 2000 in the 2010 season was crowned by a number of triumphs in national championships, including Germany (Matthias Kahle), Austria (Raimund Baumschlager), the Czech Republic (Pavel Valoušek), Spain (Alberto Hevia), Lebanon (Roger Feghali) and Slovakia (Jozef Béreš).

Summarising the season that ended at the Cyprus rally last weekend (6-7 November), Michal Hrabánek, Head of Škoda Motorsport, said, “I wish to thank everyone who has contributed to this historic achievement by Škoda and helped us to win the IRC championship – the management of Škoda, the members of the Škoda Motorsport team, our colleagues at the Technological Development Department, as well as subcontractors and colleagues outside the company. I also want to thank our Škoda importers in all the countries where the Fabia Super 2000 project was well received and contributed significantly to our joint achievements in terms of increasing awareness and enhancing the image of the Škoda brand – it has indeed been a great promotion for Škoda!”

Juho Hänninen:
“The quality of this year's IRC was really high. This is my first big international title and I am very proud of it. The whole team put in a great performance - we had no technical issues throughout the season, which is an important precondition for success, because to achieve a good result you first have to finish in the respective events. I have made considerable progress on asphalt tracks, and I am already looking forward to further cooperation with Škoda Motorsport.”

Jan Kopecký:
“I'd like to thank Škoda for the opportunity to be part of the Fabia Super 2000 project – all of the team members have been working hard, which has lead to this fantastic achievement for the brand. Although we didn’t take the top spot in the drivers’ standings, finishing second is a great achievement. We are really looking forward to next year.”

STANDINGS AFTER FINAL ROUND

Posted: October 21, 2010 2:40 PM

Drivers after round 12 of 12 (best seven results)
1 Juho Hanninen (Finland) 62pts
2 Jan Kopecky (Czech Republic) 47pts
3 Kris Meeke (United Kingdom) 39pts
4 Freddy Loix (Belgium) 36pts
5 Bruno Magalhaes (Portugal) 30pts
6 Guy Wilks (United Kingdom) 27pts
7 Andreas Mikkelsen (Norway) 21pts
8 Paolo Andreucci (Italy) 18pts
9 Thierry Neuville (Belgium) 12pts
10 Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar) 10pts
= Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) 10pts

Manufacturers after round 12 of 12 (best seven results)
1 Skoda 120pts
2 Peugeot 87pts
3 M-Sport 55pts
4 Ralliart 33pts
5 Subaru 11pts
6 Abarth 6pts

IRC 2WD Drivers after round 12 of 12 (best seven results)
1 Harry Hunt 30pts
2 Kevin Abbring 20pts
= Rafael Tulio 20pts
4 Pierre Campana 16pts
5 Yeray Lemes 10pts
= Siim Plangi 10pts
= Kris Princen 10pts
= Duarte Ramos 10pts
= Sandro Sottile 10pts
= Marcos Tokarski 10pts

IRC 2WD Manufacturers after round 12 of 12 (best seven results)
1 Peugeot 94pts
2 M-Sport 86pts
3 Honda 61pts
4 Abarth 38pts
5 Skoda 5pts

Full Points:

IRC's end of season awards ceremony in Limassol, Cyprus, on November 7, 2010

Posted: October 16, 2010 9:04 PM

The 2010 end-of-season awards ceremony will take place at Le Méridien Limassol Spa and Resort in Limassol on the evening of Sunday 7 November.

Located on Akrotiri Bay, on the island's southern coast, Limassol plays host to the 2010 FxPro Cyprus Rally (4-6 November) as well as to the inaugural Love Cyprus Golden Stage Rally (7 November).

Organised jointly by Eurosport Events, the promoter of the IRC and the Cyprus Automobile Association, the awards ceremony will gather all winning drivers and manufacturers in the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge and IRC 2WD Cup, as well as the winners of the Love Cyprus Golden Stage Rally. In addition, a special prize, The Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Driver of the Year, will be handed over to the most spectacular driver of the season.

PEUGEOT UK BIDS A FOND FAREWELL TO KRIS MEEKE

Posted: October 1, 2010 6:56 AM

After two fantastic years with Peugeot UK competing in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), Peugeot will bid a fond farewell to the 2009 IRC drivers' champion Kris Meeke at the end of the year, as today he announces his decision to take up a new challenge in the World Rally Championship (WRC) in 2011. Kris will, however, continue to drive for Peugeot UK until the end of the 2010 IRC season.

Peugeot's Director of Communications, Andrew Didlick says: "Kris has been a great ambassador for the Peugeot Brand and along with the Peugeot 207 S2000 has surpassed all our expectations when we entered the IRC in 2009. By winning the drivers' title in 2009, in his first year in the IRC, Kris clearly demonstrated his world class abilities. It's been a non-stop source of excitement having him on board and we wish him every success for the future."

Kris, who began his rally driving career back in 2000, after winning a Peugeot UK Competition to find a future "Rally Star", rejoined the brand in 2009 to spearhead Peugeot UK's IRC challenge. He also helped Peugeot win a third consecutive IRC manufacturers' title in 2009 and has placed Peugeot UK on the podium eight times, with five on the top step, from the nineteen rallies he has contested in his Peugeot UK 207 S2000.

Kris Meeke says:
"I'd like to extend a huge thanks to Peugeot UK for giving me the opportunity in the IRC and for its commitment and support over these last two years."

Peugeot UK will continue in 2011 in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) and will announce details of next year's programme, at a later date.

Cronin wants more IRC action with PROTON

Posted: September 2, 2010 2:45 PM

Keith Cronin says he wants to get back behind the wheel of a PROTON Satria Neo S2000 in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge following a promising debut for the Malaysian manufacturer on Barum Czech Rally Zlin last week.

The 24-year-old Irishman had posted a succession of top 10 fastest stage times when he crashed out close to the finish of the penultimate stage of the opening day of the demanding asphalt event.

He said:
"I want to do something with PROTON again but I don't know when at the moment. It took me a little while to get to grips with the car but it was perfect, a fantastic car. I couldn't believe it when I went off. It was so disappointing and I hurt my wrist a bit but that was nothing compared with the feeling of being out of the event. But it was a fantastic chance for me and one I'm not going to forget for a long time."

Cronin and co-driver Barry McNulty were in 14th overall when they crashed. They were fifth fastest on stage six of the event and seventh quickest on stage seven, despite overshooting a junction.

PROTON's next IRC outing is currently scheduled for October's RACMSA Rally of Scotland.

Loix to make further IRC appearances

Posted: July 9, 2010 11:14 PM

Freddy Loix will contest three more rounds of this year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The winner of last month's Geko Ypres Rally will enter the events in Madeira, Zlin (Czech Republic) and Sanremo (Italy) in a Skoda Fabia Super 2000 Facelift run by the Belgian Rene Georges Rally Sport operation.
He said:
"Every year I'm thinking to stop but every year I'm back and this year I will be quite busy. I know Madeira is a bit more difficult for me than Ypres, which I know very well, because it is in the mountains but it will be good practice and more time in the car. I have also won once the Barum Rally and last year I was quite quick there until I broke a wheel. I know Sanremo too."

Loix, 39, has won four IRC rounds to date, including Barum Czech Rally Zlin in August 2008. He was runner-up in the drivers' standings in 2008 and third the following season. His victory on the recent Ypres Rally marked his first appearance in the IRC this season.

Meeke won't give up on IRC title defence, despite crash

Posted: July 6, 2010 1:39 PM

Kris Meeke has refused to concede defeat in his efforts to defend his Intercontinental Rally Challenge title, vowing to hit the ground running when the series resumes on Sata Rallye Acores from 15-17 July.

The Peugeot UK driver is fifth in the drivers' standings, 27 points adrift of leader Juho Hanninen, following his crash on last weekend's Geko Ypres Rally in Belgium, the third time this season that he has failed to finish an IRC qualifier due to an accident.

"It's getting more difficult [to defend my title] and maybe we'll have to change our approach a bit because we can't carry on pushing to the limit in every corner and on every rally," said Meeke, who turns 31 tomorrow (Friday 2 July). "But Acores is another rally and we go there hoping to hit the ground running."

Co-driven by Paul Nagle, Meeke won Sata Rallye Acores on his first appearance on the event last season. The maximum haul of points he scored back then put him to the top of the IRC standings, where he remained for the rest of 2009.

INTERCONTINENTAL RALLY CHALLENGE AND COLIN MCRAE VISION JOIN FORCES

Posted: July 6, 2010 12:53 PM

Eurosport Events, the promoter of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, and Colin McRae Vision have today announced an exciting partnership to support charities and good causes that help young people living close to the route of IRC events.

Colin McRae Vision was established following the accident which claimed the lives of rally legend Colin McRae, his five-year-old son Johnny, and two family friends in September 2007, to improve health and education for children around the world.

Eurosport Events and Colin McRae Vision will work with organisers of selected rounds of the IRC to identify suitable projects and initiatives. They will also work with IRC's partners, manufacturers and drivers to promote the efforts of Colin McRae Vision and increase the levels of exposure and support, with regular updates on the IRC website (www.rally-irc.com), in the IRC newsletter and during television coverage of IRC rounds.

Furthermore, as part of this partnership, a new trophy will be created: the "Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Trophy" that will be presented to the most spectacular driver on all remaining rounds of the IRC, starting with Sata Rallye Açores from 15-17 July. An end of season award, the Colin McRae IRC Flat Out Driver of the Year, will be handed over at the IRC's end of season awards ceremony.

As a result of the incredible support they have received from fans around the world, the McRae family aims to see as much charitable benefit generated as possible following their loss. They remain extremely focused on ensuring Colin McRae Vision is able to raise and distribute as much funding to good causes as possible. Colin's widow Alison wishes the main focus of the Vision to be in the areas of children's health and education.

In March, during the IRC's inaugural visit to Argentina, Alison McRae joined defending IRC champion Kris Meeke, who was Colin McRae's protégé and is now an ambassador of Colin McRae Vision, to present a cheque for 74,000 Argentine Pesos (about 14,100 Euros) to the Municipal Hospital in Carlos Paz, where the IRC-counting Rally Argentina was based. The money was used to buy a new X-ray machine to negate the need for patients requiring X-rays to be transferred to Cordoba, some 35 kilometres away.

Marcello Lotti, General Manager of the IRC, said:
"We are very proud and delighted to be supporting the work of Colin McRae Vision, a very worthwhile charity. While Colin McRae never competed in the IRC, he was an iconic name whose spectacular driving style and spirit lives on in many of the drivers currently competing in our series. Colin was a man of the people who captured the imagination of rally fans around the world. We look forward to collaborating on a variety of initiatives during the remainder of the current IRC season and beyond."

Colin McRae's father Jim McRae added:
"After Rally Argentina it quickly became apparent Eurosport Events represented the type of forward thinking organisation that the Vision was looking to partner with. We are currently in dialogue with two further IRC events, Barum Czech Rally Zlín and RACMSA Rally of Scotland, to identify suitable projects for the Vision to support and we hope that these will represent the first of many future donations that we will be able to facilitate through our association with the IRC. With the assistance of the promoters, event organisers, teams and rally fans around the world, we feel we can make a genuine difference to some of the local communities that welcome the IRC family each year."

DANCE TO TIPPERARY TO SPONSOR TOP IRISH RALLY DRIVER DANIEL BARRY IN THE IRC

Posted: April 23, 2010 1:58 PM

Dance To Tipperary "Return" to  motor rally sport to promote their new album "Return To Me" by announcing today that Dance To Tipperary will sponsor top Irish rally driver Daniel Barry and his Barry Motorsport Team.   

Daniel and co-driver Martin Brady are contesting this years Intercontinental Rally Challenge. (IRC) in their Barry Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.   

They already competed in Monte Carlo In January this year and are due to contest IRC events in Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, Scotland and Cyprus which are apart of the IRC 2010 season and championship.   

Daniel Barry is age 25 and from Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, Ireland.   

Daniel Barry is the reigning Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Champion in the UK where he won five of the championships six rounds. Co-Driver Martin Brady continues in the hot seat with Daniel for the 2010 IRC season.   
 
Eurosport- Europe's largest TV channel- will broadcast extensive coverage from every IRC round, including live shows that will reach 115 million homes and 240 million viewers across the world. 
In addition the events attract considerable national and Internet media publicity for competing drivers and their sponsors.   

  " When looking for a suitable sponsorship return property to promote Dance To Tipperary and new album Return To Me we thought and looked at length which Driver and team best reflected some of our brand and musical values on the International stage namely Irish, Youth, Ambition, Quality together with good social network maintenance and development.   

Daniel Barry meets all those criteria as well as bringing attractive opportunities for Dance To Tipperary to increase its global brand footprint, and promote download and music awareness of Dance To Tipperary's new album Return To Me through his participation in the International Rally Challenge.   

Our Sponsorship of Daniel Barry, Co-driver Martin Brady  and the Barry Motorsport Team is a new stage of dynamic increased development of Dance To Tipperary both as a brand and music internationally."   

  DANCE TO TIPPERARY are a London/Irish, Celtic, Rock, Pop, Trance group who have released 4 studio albums to date and have had 11 Top 30 singles. (Infectious tunes , Stadium Rock, Party energy and ballads too.) 

More Details on on Dance to Tipperary Website

Kajetanowicz to contest asphalt IRC rounds

Posted: April 23, 2010 10:04 AM

Subaru Poland factory driver Kajetan Kajetanowicz will contest the Intercontinental Rally Challenge events in Belgium and Czech Republic.

The Polish championship frontrunner, who drives a Subaru Impreza run by Belgium-based Symtech Racing, is tackling the IRC rounds as an addition to his domestic programme. The extra events have been made possible because his team has found a new sponsor.

Although the Polish championship remains his priority, Kajetanowicz is keen to build his experience of competing outside his homeland in his 2010-specification Symtech-built Impreza STR010.

Team boss Dirk van der Sluys said:
"I'm really pleased we're able to take in some rounds of the IRC. From our point of view, as a Belgian team, we're particularly pleased he's doing the Geko Ypres Rally. He showed himself capable of winning events overall in Poland last year and I'll be fascinated to see how he compares against the IRC regulars."  

 

Smith gets new Honda for IRC 2WD bid

Posted: April 15, 2010 1:17 PM

Colin R Smith has got his hands on the Honda Civic Type R he will use on four rounds of this year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

Smith, from Scotland, travelled to Ypres in Belgium, venue of round six of the IRC from June 24-26, to collect the car from previous owner Martijn Braat. He will be one of the favourites to land IRC 2WD Cup honours when he begins his programme on Rally d'Italia-Sardegna in early June.

The Honda Smith and co-driver Craig Chapman will campaign this season runs to the latest Group N specification. They plan to conduct an extensive test schedule in the G+M Mechanical Services-prepared machine over the coming weeks as they adapt to left-hand drive for the first time.

"The step to purchase an international winning car now means we can concentrate on pushing ourselves to the best of our ability in what will be an exciting year ahead in the IRC," said Smith.    

Cetinkaya becomes IRC's first lady

Posted: April 1, 2010 3:32 PM



Burcu Cetinkaya will become the first female driver to contest an expanded programme of Intercontinental Rally Challenge events when she starts her IRC campaign on Rally d'Italia-Sardegna from 4-6 June.

Cetinkaya, from Istanbul, will drive a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 with support from Turkey's Peugeot importer. She will also contest the asphalt rounds in Ypres, Madeira and Zlin; the gravel events in Azores and Scotland, and the mixed-surface Rallye Sanremo. A decision on whether or not she competes on the Cyprus Rally, the IRC's other asphalt/gravel event, will be taken in late August. Cicek Guney will continue in her role as Cetinkaya's navigator.

"To drive a Super 2000 car has been my dream and the Peugeot has been a very successful car in the IRC for the last few seasons so it is a good choice," said Cetinkaya, 29. "Also, the support and coverage Eurosport gives to the IRC is very good and very important for my sponsors. It's one of the main reasons why I chose the IRC."

Cetinkaya is no stranger to IRC competition having contested the Geko Ypres Rally and Barum Czech Rally Zlin in the past.

She is planning to test on gravel and Tarmac in the coming months in preparation for her IRC bid.

Neuville secures six-event IRC deal in Kronos 207 S2000

Posted: March 31, 2010 12:10 PM

Thierry Neuville will contest six rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in a Peugeot Belgium–Luxembourg-backed 207 Super 2000 run by Kronos Racing.

Neuville, 21, will begin his programme on Rally Islas Canarias from 29 April-1 May and will also contest the rallies in Sardinia, Ypres, Zlín, Sanremo and Scotland.

Nicolas Klinger, who partnered Nicolas Vouilloz to the IRC drivers’ title in 2008, will navigate Neuville, who is regarded as one of the rising stars of Belgium rallying.

Marc van Dalen, boss of the Kronos team, said: “It’s very good news and I have no doubt that Thierry is a very talented young driver. He still has a lot to learn but he can do this by getting to the end of each rally.

“It is very important that he will have Nicolas with him. He is very experienced but he also knows the team and this will help Thierry to concentrate on his driving.”

Neuville will drive the car new team-mate Kris Meeke used in Brazil and Argentina in Canarias before he switches to the ex-Freddy Loix 207 from June’s Geko Ypres Rally onwards. Meeke will switch back to the car he used on Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo.

Van Dalen said he was confident that Neuville will get to test his 207 in Canarias on the Monday prior to the event, round four of the IRC.

Tom Cave confirms 2010 rally programme

Posted: March 25, 2010 1:24 PM

Teenage rally driver Tom Cave has confirmed that he will contest the second part of the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge at the wheel of his Proton Satria Neo Super 2000 rally car. The 18 year-old will begin his campaign in June, at the Rally d'Italia Sardegnia and will certainly round-out his season on Rally Scotland, with the possibility of competing on Rally San Remo in September and Rally Cyprus in November.  

The Tom Cave Racing team will contest the same events as the official Proton Team and while the Davies Motorsport Services technicians will run Tom's car, it will be based within the Proton team's service area.  

This will allow Tom to not only receive technical and strategic advice and support but also, benefit from the experience of Proton's works driver, former British Rally Champion and World Rally Championship works driver, Alister McRae.  

Indeed, Tom's car will be the very example that McRae used on the 2009 Rally of Scotland to finish in second place.  

Tom's campaign will be split exactly 50/50 between tarmac and gravel, beginning with the gravel of Sardinia before the legendary asphalt of the Ypres Rally in Belgium. He will then head west to the two Portuguese off-shore islands, the Azores and Madeira, for the gravel and tarmac events respectively before returning to mainland Europe for the Barum Rally in the Czech Republic, another asphalt outing.  

The penultimate round of the series, Rally of Scotland, runs on gravel stages that were a huge hit with drivers on its inception last year and where Tom finished an impressive eighth overall in the Fiesta.  

Tom also has the option of competing in San Remo and Cyprus, both mixed surface events entailing a complete set-up and specification change on the car partway through the rally. A decision on which, if either events he will compete on will be taken later in the season.  

Tom also hopes to be able to contest at least one rally in Latvia, where he cut his rallying teeth for two years competing in the national championship, widely regarded as one of Europe's most competitive domestic series.  

The Tom Cave Racing team is due to take delivery of his car, which is currently being extensively prepared by MEM in the UK, in mid-April. Following this, an intensive test and evaluation programme will begin, enabling Tom to familiarise himself with the car and begin to develop settings that he will use for the season.  

Commenting on the announcement, Tom said;
"I'm really looking forward to this season. I tested the car very briefly a few weeks ago and it felt amazing; the engine, brakes and suspension were fantastic and the whole things feels so much more like a proper rally car. Which, of course, it is...  

"I was a little apprehensive about that first drive but the Proton team was there, giving me some pointers and by the end of the day, it felt very natural. They were also very complimentary about the way I drove the car and my speed, which was extremely encouraging.  

"I think this year is going to be a big one; it's a massive step up for us in every way. The car, the events we're doing, being part of a global rally series, working under the Proton umbrella and driving the same car and wearing the same overalls as a driver like Alister - it's a huge opportunity and at the same time, a big challenge. But I'm relishing both."  

Fans will be able to follow Tom's progress as he prepares for his competition debut in the Proton through the blog on his website, tomcaveracing.com. Tom will also be tweeting from his first event, so fans will be able to keep up with every moment of the action from early June, either via Twitter or through the website.

Skoda unveils Fabia facelift

Posted: March 11, 2010 3:31 PM



Skoda used the recent Geneva Motor Show to unveil images of its Fabia Super 2000 following a recent facelift.

The Czech firm, which heads the IRC manufacturers' standings following Rally Internacional de Curitiba in Brazil earlier this month, is planning to give the car its competition debut on a European round of the IRC in the middle part of this season.

Despite talk of wholesale changes, a spokesperson for Skoda Motorsport said the only major difference between the revamped Fabia and its predecessor was an increase in width to 1820mm, which has necessitated a small tweak to the design of the front bumper.

Franz Wittmann/ Klaus Wicha finalise 2010 Program

Posted: February 10, 2010 9:33 PM

When Franz Wittmann, together with his main sponsor Interwetten, had introduced this year’s IRC project in January in Vienna just prior to the Rallye Monte Carlo the only open topic remained the final choice of runs.

The Interwetten Racing Team had received an invitation by Eurosport to compete in the two IRC-runs in Brazil and Argentina whereas the TV station would have borne the seaway transport costs.

Wittmann on this:
“That obviously was very tempting for us, especially since one possibly could have scored important IRC-points in South America. But the Peugeot S2000 of Romo Motorsporttechnik would have been en route too long and to fly in the car plus spare parts would definitely have exceeded our financial resources.”

Following a meeting with all concerned parties one has now, after the Rallye Monte Carlo, decided to compete in the following seven events:

    04-06 June Rally Sardinia Italy (g)
    24-26 June Ypres Rallye Belgium (a)
    15-17 July Sata Rally Azores Portugal (g)
    27-29 August Barum Rally Czech Republic (a)
    09-11 September Rally Asturia Spain (a)
    23-25 September Rally San Remo Italy (a-g)
    04-06 November Cyprus Rally Cyprus (a-g)
Wittmann on this choice:
“Sardinia and Cyprus are two new rallies within the IRC series for all teams. And I know Ypres, the Azores, the Barum Rally, Asturia and San Remo from last year, which should be an advantage to us. Thereby tarmac and gravel rallies are almost balanced out. I hope to be on the podium with the Peugeot 207 S2000 at several rallies. I know that I am aiming very high thereby but this is the only way to advance internationally. Besides, I also owe that to my sponsor Interwetten.”

Interwetten founder Wolfgang Fabian is satisfied with the finalised program: “To us it is also important that some rallies, like in France, Spain, Greece and the Czech Republic take place in countries where we are represented with our company.”

More Details

Loix returns to the IRC in Škoda

Posted: February 8, 2010 3:36 PM

Freddy Loix will return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge later this season in a Škoda Fabia S2000 run under the BFO-Škoda Rally Team banner.

Loix, a winner of three IRC events, is likely to enter four rounds of the series with the Belgian René Georges Rally Sport operation. He will also tackle selected Belgian championship rallies.

He said: “I’m very happy with my new car and my new sponsor because it is not easy to find a partner to help you. BFO is a Belgian company so I will also do some Belgian championship events.”

Loix made his IRC debut with René Georges Rally Sport in a Volkswagen Polo S2000 in 2007 (pictured), taking part on a handful of rallies. He joined the Kronos Racing-run Peugeot Team Belux operation for 2008 and finished second in the IRC Drivers’ standings to team-mate Nicolas Vouilloz. He was third overall last season.

“I only have good experiences of the René Georges team,” continued Loix, 39. “Although I have not driven the Škoda yet, I have been speaking to a lot of people who say it’s an easy car to drive. I think it can be a very interesting season for me.”

Loix has yet to finalise his exact IRC schedule but says he will definitely enter the Geko Ypres Rally in his native Belgium from 24-26 June. He is a five-time winner of the asphalt rally.

Mikkelsen to Drive Fiesta S2000 for seven IRC events

Posted: February 8, 2010 3:27 PM

The Intercontinental Rally Challenge has attracted its latest star recruit after Andreas Mikkelsen confirmed he will enter seven rounds of the series in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000.

Mikkelsen, from Norway, is one of the sport’s hottest prospects and holds the record for being the youngest point-scorer on a world championship rally, a record he set in Sweden in 2008, aged 18.

He will begin his IRC campaign on the fourth round of the series, Rally d’Italia-Sardegna, in June alongside long-term co-driver Ola Fløene.

“This is just fantastic,” said the 20-year-old. “After seeing Mikko Hirvonen’s and M-Sport’s debut with the new Fiesta S2000 in Monte Carlo, I’m sure we have the best package available. My goal is to fight for podium finishes in all the IRC rounds.”

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson added:
“This will prove to be an exciting season for Andreas. He has already demonstrated that he has the speed and ability to perform well and the Ford Fiesta S2000 has shown its potential by winning in Monte Carlo. Together they should be a good package and I will be watching Andreas’ performances with interest this season.”

Mikkelsen, the reigning Norwegian Group N champion, is no stranger to the IRC after competing on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last August.

Al-Attiyah gets Skoda for IRC debut

Posted: February 6, 2010 12:47 AM

Nasser Al-Attiyah will make his Intercontinental Rally Challenge debut on Rally Argentina next month, driving a Skoda Fabia S2000 for the Belgian Rene Georges Rally Sport team.

The highly-regarded Qatari, 39, is a hero in Argentina after he finished runner-up to Carlos Sainz on the Dakar Rally, which started and finished in the capital Buenos Aires last month.

He is also no stranger to the Villa Carlos Paz-based Rally Argentina, having won Group N on the event when it counted towards the World Rally Championship in 2009. He has experience of Super 2000 technology after winning the Qatar International Rally in an M-Sport Ford Fiesta last month.

Al-Attiyah, a six-time Middle East rally champion, will also contest other selected rounds of this year's IRC and his programme will be confirmed after Rally Argentina.

Skoda Motorsport to send two cars to South America

Posted: January 29, 2010 12:56 PM

The factory Skoda Motorsport team will enter its works drivers Juho Hanninen and Jan Kopecky on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge events in Brazil and Argentina in March.

Skoda is planning an expanded programme of IRC appearances this season and its commitment to the South American gravel rallies will help to ensure a strong turnout of European-based crews.

Company spokesperson Karel Pokorny said: "We will run two cars in Brazil and Argentina. Skoda has some experience in Argentina from the World Rally Championship but we have never been to Brazil so that will be something new.

"We saw last year the pace of the Fabia Super 2000 on gravel in the Azores and Russia and we hope this will continue when we go to Brazil and Argentina."

Satellite team Skoda UK Motorsport has also confirmed it will field a Fabia S2000 on the South American leg for British driver Guy Wilks.

Championship Points After Round 1

Posted: January 26, 2010 10:27 PM

Drivers after round one of 12
1 Mikko Hirvonen (Finland) 10pts
2 Juho Hanninen (Finland) 8pts
3 Nicolas Vouilloz (France) 6pts
4 Stephane Sarrazin (France) 5pts
5 Jan Kopecky (Czech Republic) 4pts
6 Guy Wilks (United Kingdom) 3pts
7 Bruno Magalhaes (Portugal) 2pts
8 Jean-Sebastien Vigion (France) 1pt

Manufacturers after round one of 12
1 Skoda 14 points
2 M-Sport 10 points
3 Peugeot 7 points

2WD Drivers after round one of 12
1 Kris Princen 10pts
2 Pierre Campana 8pts
3 Thomas Barral 6pts
4 Simone Campedelli 5pts
5 Jean-Michel Raoux 4pts
6 Arnaud Monnet 3pts
7 Christophe Fontaine 2pts
8 Tom Cave 1pt

2WD Manufacturers after round one of 12
1 M-Sport 13pts
2 Peugeot 10pts
3 Skoda 5pts

Škoda UK confirms IRC runs in Brazil and Argentina

Posted: January 24, 2010 9:52 PM

Škoda UK Motorsport will enter Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge, running its Fabia S2000 on Rally International de Curitiba in Brazil (4-6 March) and Rally Argentina (19-21 March) driven by Guy Wilks and co-driver Phil Pugh.

The timing of the announcement coincides with Guy's 29th birthday today - proving that Škoda really does make happy drivers!

In addition to the opening round, Rallye Monte Carlo, Škoda UK Motorsport has already announced it will contest its home round of the IRC, the RACMSA Rally of Scotland (14-16 October), and participation in other rounds will be confirmed later.

Guy won the FIA Junior World Rally Championship category on his previous appearance on Rally Argentina in 2006. Rallying in Brazil will be a new experience for the Guy, and he'll test the car on gravel in Europe beforehand. His only other gravel rally in a Fabia S2000 resulted in victory on last year's Rally of Scotland.

Guy Wilks: "It's fantastic news that we are going to Brazil and Argentina, because contesting all three opening rallies improves our chances of success in the IRC.

"I've never been to Brazil, but I'm very excited about rallying somewhere new. We'll take it as we see it and it will also be perfect preparation for Argentina.

"Rally Argentina is a great event and I'm really looking forward to going back there. You always want to do well, and that's what we're planning to do in Brazil and Argentina.

Robert Hazelwood, Head of Škoda UK Motorsport: "After the encouraging start to the IRC on Rallye Monte Carlo, I'm delighted to announce that we are going to contest both rallies in Brazil and Argentina. It's an exciting development for the brand in the UK and we're looking forward to competing in the Southern Hemisphere."

IRC LAUNCHES FREE IPHONE/IPOD TOUCH APPLICATION

Posted: January 17, 2010 1:16 PM

With the start of the Monte-Carlo Rally drawing ever near, Eurosport Events, the promoter of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, has today announced the launch of its new iPhone application: IRC Rally.

This application, which is free to download, allows all rally fans to catch up with all the latest news from the IRC and get up-to-the-minute information about the IRC rallies, drivers, teams and official standings.

In the fast-moving environment of rallying, every second counts: with live times from the stages and breaking news as it happens, the new IRC Rally application for iPhone is simply a must for every rally fan!

In addition to this live content, IRC Rally also features the latest pictures and provides iPhone users with practical information to map the location of the Service Park, book tickets and access the events' official websites.

As well as being a useful companion, IRC's latest communication tool is also adaptable and interactive: fans can modify the size of the text for their own reading comfort, share information and easily pass stories onto their friends by email or on Facebook.

With the IRC iPhone application, you too can become a part of the New Generation of rallying!

Tom Cave to drive a Proton Satria S2000 in 2010

Posted: January 15, 2010 12:10 PM

Teenage rally driver Tom Cave, from Aberdovey in Wales, has secured a privately-entered and run Proton Satria Neo Super2000 rally car for selected rounds of the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The 18 year-old will receive support from Mellors Elliot Motorsport (MEM), the company which runs the official Proton team and will run alongside, but independent of, the official team, headed by Alister McRae.

The news is the result of twelve months of hard work by Tom’s father and manager of the Tom Cave Racing team, Peter Cave. Peter spotted the clear potential of the Proton S2000 car early on and has been working to secure the purchase of the first ex-works car offered by MEM for Tom to use in 2010.

The current plan is for Tom to contest one or two events in the UK to familiarise himself with the car prior to undertaking a seven-rally program in the IRC, primarily mainland European events, including Ypres, San Remo and Rally of Scotland. These events would be interspersed with tarmac and gravel tests to give the youngster the best chance of demonstrating his ability and pace in the increasingly popular IRC series, which receives extensive television coverage on pan-European sports channel Eurosport. While many might think that the step from a Group N Ford Fiesta ST to a Super 2000 car could be too great, Peter is confident that it is a step Tom is capable of making. “When Martin Rowe was working with us just over a year ago, he was completely confident that Tom would be capable of driving a four wheel-drive car at a representative pace,” he said. “It has been our objective to get Tom into a four wheel-drive rally car that will form the future of rallying as soon as possible and I am delighted that we have been able to achieve that for this year, with the help and support of Chris Mellors and MEM.”

Tom has already demonstrated a maturity and resilience that belie his years; in 2009, he contested ten rallies across Europe, including events forming part of the British and Latvian national championships, the FIA World Rally Championship and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. He won his class on three of the final four rallies he contested, including Rally Latvia and Rally of Scotland and dominated his class on Rally of Great Britain but lost time when stuck in a ditch.

He contested his second Rally of Great Britain before his 18th birthday and just days after legally becoming an adult, finished Rally of Scotland, the finale of the 2009 IRC, in eighth place, a points- scoring position, had Ford been registered for the championship.

Tom is understandably excited by the prospect of taking the wheel of the Proton for at least eight events in 2010. “I still can’t quite believe that I’ll be driving an S2000 Proton this year. I know it’s something that the team had been trying to secure for some time but I didn’t think for a moment that it would happen for this year. For the last few months, I have been working on the basis that I would be driving a two wheel-drive car this year, possibly an R2 or R3 car but this is an incredible opportunity.

“Of course, while I’m incredibly excited, I’m also a little apprehensive. I’m not naïve enough to think for a moment that I will be anywhere near the pace of people who have been rallying for almost as long as I have been alive! But cars such as the Proton will form the future of rallying and I can completely understand the concept of getting into one of these cars as soon as possible. It makes complete sense to develop and learn the skills of what I hope will be my trade using the tools of that trade.

“Our car will be run independently, still by Davies Motorsport but from within the MEM service area on events that we are contesting as well as the Proton team. To have that support and to be competing alongside a driver like Alister McRae is an amazing opportunity and one that I will make the very most of.

“I think the objective for the year will be to learn as much as possible; the way the car behaves and how to drive it, the way an official team like MEM works and the relationships between their drivers and the engineers, gain more experience of rallies I haven’t done and of course, competing in a championship. Because of my age, I wasn’t able to enter any championships last year but I am looking forward to competing against the same drivers over several rallies to see how my performance improves as I learn and understand more.”

Many of the finer details are still to be completed but one thing is certain and that is Tom will run his final rally in the Fiesta next week, as he takes the start ramp of the 2010 Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo. The most iconic event in the history of rallying will see Tom’s swansong in the Fiesta that has served him well for the last two years and will be a fitting start to his 2010 season, on the opening round of this year’s IRC.

Eurosport IRC 2010 Promotional Video (with Kris Meeke)

Posted: January 12, 2010 2:33 PM

M-SPORT TO JOIN INTERCONTINENTAL RALLY CHALLENGE

Posted: January 8, 2010 11:32 AM

M-Sport, the team that has run Ford's factory rally activities since 1997, is to enter the Intercontinental Rally Challenge this year, which allows any Driver in a Ford car to score points in the Drivers and in the Manufacturers classification for both the main IRC series and the IRC 2WD Cup.

Consequently, the number of represented brands on the IRC will rise to eight for the 2010 season, with Ford drivers joining Abarth, Honda, Peugeot, Proton, Ralliart, Skoda and Subaru among the ranks of the IRC competitors. Five of them, including Ford, will be represented by state-of-the-art Super 2000 machinery.

M-Sport will make its IRC debut on the Monte Carlo Rally from January 19-23, with an entry for its star driver Mikko Hirvonen from Finland in the all-new Ford Fiesta S2000. In addition, a number of private clients are lining up entries with the brand new Ford Fiesta, which first appeared on the IRC as zero car on the RAC MSA Rally of Scotland last year.

The two-wheel drive variants of the Ford Fiesta are also expected to figure prominently on the IRC 2WD Cup.

Malcolm Wilson, the Managing Director of M-Sport, commented:
"Joining the IRC allows us to offer our customers the chance to make the most out of their participation on the series, as well as the opportunity to showcase our products in new markets. Initial testing with the Ford Fiesta S2000 has gone extremely well, and we're very much looking forward to seeing our car make its competition debut with Mikko Hirvonen in Monte Carlo later this month."

Marcello Lotti, the General Manager of the IRC, added:
"We're extremely happy to welcome M-Sport, one of the most successful and prestigious teams in the history of rallying, to the IRC family. With this important news, the 2010 IRC season promises to be the most exciting we have experienced so far, with breathtakingly close competition for all the spectators, whether watching the action on-site or live on TV."

STAR DRIVERS TEST FOR PROTON'S IRC TEAM

Posted: December 28, 2009 11:11 PM

Proton continued its preparations for the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge season by putting three leading drivers through their paces during a test in Wales recently.

Finns Anton Alen and Matti Rantanen and Belgian Francois Duval all drove a Proton Satria Neo Super 2000 at the Sweet Lamb test facility in Wales. Chris Mellors, who runs MEM, the factory Proton team, said: "We had three great drivers who gave us some very positive and valuable feedback. From our point of view one of the most encouraging things is that we put the equivalent of a world championship rally distance on the car without having to do any work to it."

Alen, who is considering Proton as one of his options for next season's IRC, said: "The car felt very stable and the engine had a really good spread of torque right from the bottom all the way to the top."

A couple of days after the test, Duval slipped on some ice at home in Belgium and broke two vertebrae in his back. He is expected to recover fully, but will be out of action for at least eight weeks.  

 

SIMON EVANS AIMS FOR IRC AFTER PEUGEOT TEST

Posted: December 28, 2009 11:11 PM

Australia could get a regular representative in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge next year after Simon Evans tested a Peugeot 207 Super 2000. Evans, a three-time Australian rally champion, is now trying to secure sufficient sponsorship to tackle the IRC in 2010 following a successful test in central France.

He told the Auto Channel website:
"We're going to have to work very hard to come up with the funding to put a deal together for next year. But after getting a taste of it, I want it even more now and I'm more pumped up than ever to get to the IRC."

Evans was accompanied by his co-driving wife Sue during the test, which took place over a six-kilometre all-asphalt stage near Clermont-Ferrand. "It was such a great experience – the car was by far the best rally car I have ever driven," said Evans. "It gave me so much confidence to keep pushing harder and harder and I felt really comfortable in it."

WILKS TARGETS SKODA UK DEAL FOR IRC

Posted: December 28, 2009 11:09 PM

British driver Guy Wilks has been linked to a programme on the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge with Skoda UK. Wilks won Rally of Scotland in a Skoda Fabia Super 2000 last November and made no secret of his desire to remain with the company for a full campaign next season.

The double British rally champion said: "I would love to be in the car. The Fabia is a proven rally winner with the potential to win the championship and I would dearly love the opportunity to do that. But there's no contract in place right now."

A spokesperson for Skoda UK said: "An IRC entry is under consideration. We'd love to be able to do this, but nothing is finalised."

Wilks has experience of a number of IRC events following a part-programme with the factory Proton team in 2009.

SUBARU JOINS THE INTERCONTINENTAL RALLY CHALLENGE

Posted: December 4, 2009 6:13 PM

Eurosport Events, the promoter of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, is delighted to announce that Subaru will join the IRC next year with the aim of supporting its customer competition business with the legendary Group N Impreza.  

In the 2009 IRC season, seven manufacturers were represented with Abarth, Honda, Peugeot, Proton, Ralliart, Skoda and Volkswagen going head-to-head on spectacular events. The IRC series is designed not only to showcase these unique events through the use of innovative live television coverage, but also to provide competitors with an excellent promotional platform.  

Marcello LOTTI, the IRC's General Manager, commented: "We are very honoured to welcome Subaru competitors into the IRC family, which gets bigger and better. Subaru is an iconic name in motorsport, which has been a mainstay of customer competition for many years. Subaru's strategy fits in perfectly with the philosophy of the IRC and we are convinced that our series will offer Subaru teams plenty of success and strong international media exposure."

Shigeo SUGAYA, Motorsports Director of Subaru added: "We are very happy to join the IRC, a series that we have been keenly observing since its creation three years ago. The IRC provides an ideal arena to develop our customer competition activities. With approximately 1,000 Subaru cars rallying around the world, this is a great opportunity for our customers to take part in the famous rallies showcased by the IRC and to benefit from the excellent promotion that comes with it."

Meeke looking forward to mixed surface events on 2010 IRC calendar

Posted: December 4, 2009 10:42 AM

The Intercontinental Rally Challenge will feature two mixed surface events next season. And Kris Meeke, the IRC drivers’ champion, said he cannot wait to take on the challenge of competing on gravel and asphalt on the same rally.

IRC’s provisional 12-event calendar for 2010 will include mixed surface rounds in Italy (Sanremo) and Cyprus. Drivers will tackle one leg on asphalt before switching to gravel for the other leg, with teams required to make alterations to the set-up of their cars during the overnight halt.

The format will not only test the teams, but will also require the drivers to adapt their driving styles from one day to the next.

“It’s an awesome calendar with some classic events,” said Meeke. “I can’t wait to get started and the mixed surface rallies are going to be something really different and really exciting.”  

 

Kris Meeke re-signs for Peugeot UK

Posted: November 29, 2009 8:45 PM

Peugeot UK has confirmed that it has re-signed Kris Meeke to drive its Peugeot 207 S2000 in next year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge, accompanied by co-driver Paul Nagle.

It was on 15th December 2008 that Peugeot UK first announced its intention to enter a Peugeot 207 S2000 into the 2009 IRC. Now almost twelve months later, Peugeot has secured its third consecutive IRC Manufacturers' title and Peugeot UK driver Kris Meeke is the 2009 IRC Drivers' champion.

This year, Peugeot UK's Peugeot 207 S2000 driven by Kris and co-driver Paul Nagle has covered 2197.73 special stage kms and set fastest times on 42 of the 127 stages it completed. On the way to the title, Kris and Paul have won five rallies out of the nine contested. The continued dominance of the Peugeot 207 S2000 in the IRC is a fitting tribute to the work of its designers, Peugeot Sport and the strengths of the Peugeot 207 road car upon which it is based.

Now all attention switches to next year and regaining the titles. Kris and Paul will be together again in their Peugeot UK entered Peugeot 207 S2000 prepared and supported by Kronos and will contest ten of the proposed twelve 2010 IRC rounds.

PROTON TEAM PLANS TWO-CAR IRC ASSAULT

Posted: November 29, 2009 5:30 PM

The British-based works Proton squad is set to field a two-car team in next year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

With backing from the Malaysian car giant, the team made its IRC debut on the Belgium Ypres Rally last June. Although it expanded to running two cars on Barum Czech Rally Zlin in August, it concentrated on fielding a single entry on all other events it has contested.

"Next year is going to be a busy year for us with two cars in the IRC," said team principal Chris Mellors.

Alister McRae, who scored Proton's first IRC podium on Rally of Scotland, is likely to continue with the team in 2010 although several other drivers are also under consideration.

"We hope Alister will be involved with the programme next year but there are a lot of drivers we're talking to," said Mellors. "We're going to be testing the car in December with some very interesting people. We're very excited."  

 

Skoda extends 2010 IRC campaign

Posted: November 17, 2009 12:38 PM

Skoda will send its factory team to the Monte Carlo Rally next season ahead of an expanded Intercontinental Rally Challenge assault.

The Czech firm used the asphalt event last January to debut its all-new Fabia Super 2000. It ended the season second in the IRC manufacturers’ table with works pilot Jan Kopecky securing second in the drivers’ standings.

Skoda’s Motorsport boss, Michal Hrabanek, said: “This year's rallying agenda is now over. The priority for the next season is IRC. Just like this year, we are planning to take part in selected events, but this time the number of our appearances is supposed to be higher.

"I can say with certainty that we are going to appear at the Monte Carlo Rally in January, which, thanks to the already announced scope of Eurosport TV coverage, will be a big milestone in the worldwide history of rallying.”

Skoda’s factory team contested six IRC rounds this season.

Al-Attiyah plans IRC future

Posted: November 2, 2009 3:11 PM

Qatari hero Nasser Al-Attiyah is contemplating a move to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in 2010.

The 2006 Production Car World Rally Champion will make a decision on which car he will use in the coming weeks - but has confirmed he will again be partnered by Italian navigator Giovanni Bernacchini.

However, because the opening round of next year’s IRC, the Monte Carlo Rally, clashes with the first event in the Middle East championship, which Al-Attiyah is contesting, he is unlikely to begin his campaign until the second round in Brazil in early March.

“The IRC is really interesting for me but I have yet to decide exactly my programme for next year,” Al-Attiyah said. “There are some exciting events on the calendar that I know from the World Rally Championship.”

Al-Attiyah is planning an entry on the inaugural RACMSA Rally of Scotland from November 19-21, the final round of this year’s IRC.

2010 IRC Calendar Announced

Posted: October 17, 2009 8:24 PM

Eurosport Events, promoter of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) is delighted to announce the 2010 IRC calendar, featuring 12 rounds with a mix of legendary and well-established events across Europe and South America.

For the second consecutive year, the series will start with the oldest and most prestigious event: the Rallye Monte Carlo. In 2010, it will become the most-televised rally in the sport's history with full live coverage from the stages.

The three new events joining the IRC calendar next year include the Rally Argentina, the Rally d’Italia Sardegna and the FxPro Cyprus Rally which will form the grand finale of the season in November.

Next year's IRC season will be run on a 50-50 mix of asphalt and gravel rallies, plus two mixed-surface events.

“This exciting calendar reflects the increasing status of IRC in world motorsport, with more and more prestigious events joining our series. We have taken a number of major steps forward with high levels for both competition and ground-breaking live TV coverage. This contributes to the spectacular rise in the profile of the series" said Géraldine Filiol, Managing Director of Eurosport Events.

"For 2010, we are embarking on our most ambitious season yet: not only do we start the season with the legendary Monte Carlo Rally with fully 14 hours of live action, but we will extend this innovative Live television production to 4 other events across the year, to provide unrivalled access for fans and great value to competitors and commercial partners" she added.

Provisional Championship Rounds

Posted: October 17, 2009 8:22 PM

1 Rallye Monte-Carlo Monaco (a) - 19-23 January 2010
2 Rally Internacional de Curitiba Brazil (g) - 4-06 March 2010
3 Rally Argentina (g) - 19-21 March 2010
4 Rally d’Italia Sardegna Italy (g) - 04-06 June 2010
5 Belgium Ypres Rally Belgium (a) - 24-26 June 2010
6 Sata Rally Açores Portugal (g) - 15-17 July 2010
7 Rally Vinho Madeira Portugal (a) - 05-07 August 2010
8 Barum Czech Rally Zlín Czech Republic (a) - 27-29 August 2010
9 Rally Principe de Asturias Spain (a) - 09-11 September 2010
10 Rallye Sanremo Italy (a-g) - 23-25 September 2010
11 RAC MSA Rally of Scotland UK (g) - 14-16 October 2010
12 Cyprus Rally (a-g) - 04-06 November 2010

(a) asphalt / (g) gravel / (a-g) mix-surface

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