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Monte Carlo Rally - 19-22 Jan 10

Posted: January 29, 2010 12:57 PM - 23263 Hits

Round 1 - 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

Hirvonen's Monte Carlo success is first for Pirelli in IRC

Posted: January 29, 2010 12:58 PM

Mikko Hirvonen's victory on Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo marked the first outright success on a round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge for tyre firm Pirelli.

The Italian manufacturer has been active in the IRC since the championship's inception in 2007. Its maiden win came after a typically challenging Monte Carlo Rally, which featured freezing temperatures, snow and ice.

Hirvonen, who led from start to finish and claimed three stage wins, used a varied selection of tyre patterns and compounds from Pirelli's Sottozero range. He said: "Even though the conditions were changing all the time, we managed to find enough grip to allow us to be extremely competitive."

Pirelli's Rally Manager Mario Isola added:
"We're delighted with this important success, not just because Monte Carlo is such a well-known and prestigious event, but also because it's a rally where tyres really make a difference."  

 

First Subaru Individual Award presented to Burri

Posted: January 29, 2010 12:57 PM

Olivier Burri has become the first recipient of the "Subaru Individual Award" for 2010. The accolade is in recognition of Burri finishing Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo as the highest-placed Subaru Impreza driver.

Burri, from Switzerland, and co-driver Stephane Rey finished 13th overall in their Impreza WRX STi. They were 17.2s ahead of rival Subaru crew Vojtech Stajf and Marcela Doleckova from Czech Republic, who were classified in 14th overall.

Frenchman Bryan Bouffier had been the leading Subaru driver until a puncture triggered an electrical failure. The Tommi Makinen Racing driver was 11th overall when he retired on the eighth stage of the event.

The Subaru Individual Award will be presented on each of the 12 IRC rounds this year to the highest-placed Subaru finisher and demonstrates the support that Subaru will extend to its customer drivers in the IRC in 2010.  

 

Record viewers watched IRC Monte Carlo Rally on Eurosport

Posted: January 28, 2010 11:42 AM

A record 12 million viewers watched the IRC Monte Carlo Rally on Eurosport channels

Full live coverage - a worldwide first for rallying - with 12 hours of live broadcasts on Eurosport TV

70% audience increase in reach compared to 2009 with record peak ratings

Eurosport Events, the promoter of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, is delighted to announce exceptional viewing figures for its world first full live coverage of the 78th Monte Carlo Rally, the oldest and most prestigious rally in the history of the sport.

A cumulative reach of 12 million different viewers (*) tuned in to Eurosport and Eurosport2 to watch the opening round of the 2010 IRC season, which featured over 12 hours of live coverage from the stages, a first for rallying.

The audience figures were particularly high on Thursday 21 January when an average audience of 810,000 viewers, and a peak of over one million, watched the snow-covered ninth stage (St Bonnet).

This year's cumulative reach represents an increase of 70 per cent over 2009, when seven million viewers tuned in to watch last year's rally. The audience profile was predominantly male, with men representing 68 per cent of viewers.

The IRC Monte Carlo Rally also attracted a comprehensive online following: the IRC website recorded over three million page impressions over the week, while the brand new IRC iPhone application has been downloaded 6000 times and registered 187,000 pages viewed.

Géraldine Filiol, Managing Director of Eurosport Events, commented: "We are very happy with our pioneering live coverage of this epic event, which marks a world premiere in the way that the sport of rallying is broadcast. The unprecedented audience figures reinforce the appeal of the IRC to a global television audience. It also confirms the value of the IRC, which intends to bring rallying closer to the fans and to provide rally organisers and car manufacturers with a dynamic TV and new media package. We look forward to continuing our development and innovative approach over the rest of the season."

The IRC will resume in Curitiba, Brazil, from 4-6 March for the second round of the season. This event will run alongside Brazil's World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) round, held at the same venue and also promoted by Eurosport Events.

(*) source: Eurometrix - AGF/GFK, SKO, BARB, TNS Global, MMS, AGB Nielsen Media Research, TNS Gallup, ARMA/GFK Romania (TBC) / Nedstat for online figures.

Barry Motorsport Conquers Monte Carlo

Posted: January 27, 2010 2:34 PM

Irish rally crew Daniel Barry & Martin Brady were ‘made up’ with their finish on the Rallye Monte Carlo last week. The 2009 Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge Champions were luck to make the 2nd day of the rally, let alone the ceremonial finish in the prestigious Place du Palais Princier in Monaco on Saturday morning!

After being held up on the Prologue stage by a crashed competitor the pair set out from Valence on Wednesday morning with the aim of finding a safe pace which would enable them to build on speed as they acclimatised with the treacherously icy conditions. This plan was working well when disaster struck about half way through the longest stage of the event. The gearbox casing broke away, leaving the crew no option but to limp the final 20km of the stage, coasting down hills as they tried to find a gear! The time lost in stage, along with penalties gained for being late at the service park dropped the Barry Motorsport run car way down the order.

This left the crew with no option but to overtake slower cars on every stage throughout Thursday, and again on Friday morning until they were re-seeded in Monaco on Friday afternoon. “The only stages we didn’t catch cars on were the last two of the event!” quipped Daniel at the finish. “We did have a fantastic time however – it was by far the hardest thing I have ever done, but by far the best thing I have done!”

Co-driver Martin Brady stated that “Tyre choice is always tricky on the Monte, and we did as much as we could to get that right – but if we were ever unsure we went with the safer option as we wanted to finish the rally and score some points – Opportunities like this don’t come along often, so to throw it all away on a tyre gamble we didn’t need to take would have been pointless”.

The Rallye Monte Carlo went back to its traditional mid-week style after opting out of the World Rally Championship 2 years ago. The Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) welcomes the challenge of the traditional Monte, with dual service parks and remote servicing to keep the whole team busy. This years event covered 405 stage kilometres and a massive 1265 road kilometres, finishing in Monaco during the early hours of Saturday morning.

Team Manager, Danny Barry Snr, said “We have had to up our game to come to the Monte Carlo Rallye, and seeing the car come over the finish ramp was worth every bit of the effort – not many people do the Monte and finish on the first attempt! I am looking forward to the rest of the IRC rounds we aim to do”.

Barry/Brady Bring it Back on Marvellous Monte

Posted: January 26, 2010 10:43 PM



The final day of the Rallye Monte Carlo has been all about tyres. Barry Motorsport driver, Daniel Barry and his co-driver Martin Brady ultimately opted for the safer option to get them to the end of what can only be described and as an epic adventure for the Irish pairing. ‘The Monte’ is known as a specialist event and has been a massive undertaking for the home run team, who were rewarded in the early hours of Saturday morning when the crew returned to Monte Carlo in 21st position.

The final leg of the day started in the Valance service park, with a 122km drive to the 30.42km stand alone stage of Montauban/Eygalayes. Here Daniel again had to endure catching slower cars, as he made his way back up the field, and in the process lost time when they caught a snow-bank and filled the front grill with snow, slowing the car considerably.

After this stage the crews crossed the Colls on a 240km run into the new service park at Monaco. After a 3 hour regroup the crews embarked on the last 4 stages of the event including 2 runs over the infamous Coll Du Turini in the dark. The roads were basically dry, with icy patches and snow kicked on the road by the spectators, making conditions yet more treacherous. But Barry held it together for the last 4 stages to finish this epic event on his first attempt.

Daniel said on his return to the Monaco service park
“That was the hardest thing I have ever done, but the best thing I have ever done!”
Co-driver Martin Brady commented at the Ceremonial Finish
“that we didn’t think we were going to finish the first day, let alone the event – we have lost about 10minutes in total over the weekend with mechanical problems, so would have been higher yet if it hadn’t been for that”.

The event was won by Fords Mikko Hirvonen, who was 1minute and 51.4 seconds ahead of Skoda’s Juho Hanninen. Sebastian Ogier was fighting for the lead when his Peugeot 207’s engine expired on the road section to the last two stages.

Daniel and Martin are planning future events from the IRC calendar, starting with the Ypres Rally in June.
Regular updates and photos will be available on the team website www.barrymotorsport.com and Facebook users can keep up-to-date throughout the days of the event on the “Barry Motorsport” page. We are also Twitter-ing via Rally.ie for the latest information if you are not registered…

Tom Cave conquers the ‘Monte’ and scores first championship point

Posted: January 26, 2010 10:38 PM

Teenage rally driver Tom Cave achieved not only his stated objective this weekend but one of his sporting dreams, when he finished the Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo, the first round of the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The 18 year-old and co-driver Craig Parry finished 27th of the IRC registered drivers, third in IRC class N3 and eighth in the IRC 2WD Cup category, earning him his first driver point in an international rally championship.  

Cave knew the event would be a huge challenge – the Monte’s fearsome reputation preceded it and he knew that numerous factors were involved in just reaching the finish, let along achieving a good result.  

He approached the event with his now-trademark cautious start and it paid off. He set consistently representative times through out the event, negotiating his way round the worst of the black ice and snow-covered tarmac roads the event is famous for.  

This year’s Monte Carlo featured two full days of competition based around Valence in France, before moving to Monte Carlo for the final day and four stages, including two passes over the infamous Col de Turini.  

Tom and Craig enjoyed a relatively straightforward event, aided hugely by the information fed back to them by their ice crew of Simon Hughes and Clare Mole, allowed to drive the stages before them and report back on the conditions.  

The Davies Motorsport Services technicians were forced to change to the spare gearbox on the first day, following a failure of one of the mounts but other than that, the Group N Ford Fiesta he used in 2009 ran without fault.  

Inevitably, he and Parry suffered several moments on their way to the finish, including a full 360 degree spin at the top of the Turini but the pair were delighted to return to Monaco and achieve their goal.  

Speaking at the mid-morning finish ceremony after just fours hours’ sleep, Tom said;
“We got to the finish, so I feel that is quite an achievement. I’m absolutely exhausted though - this has been, by far the most demanding rally I have done, both physically and mentally.  

“When we arrived in Monaco on the final day, after one stage on the way down from Valence, it felt like the rally had finished but there were still four stages to go, starting at 10pm.  

“Perhaps the hardest aspect of this weekend was tyre choice. The information coming from our ice crew was absolutely spot on and I think we did a pretty good job with out choice. However, it is impossible to have exactly the right tyres for all of each stage at any time.  

        “But it feels amazing to have achieved this result at such a young age. I think the experience will help me enormously for the rest of this season and will definitely pay dividends for the future. It’s taking a little while for what we achieved to sink in – third in class and our first championship point in our last event in the Fiesta is a great way to send the car off.”  

Tom’s next event is likely to be in the UK in March, as the Tom Cave Racing team expects to take delivery of the car he will use for the rest of the season, a Proton Satria Neo S2000 in late February and this will allow him time for testing before his competition debut.

Hirvonen gives M-Sport's Ford Fiesta debut IRC victory

Posted: January 26, 2010 3:34 PM

Mikko Hirvonen has given M-Sport's Ford Fiesta S2000 a debut victory on the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, the 78th Automobile Rallye Monte-Carlo, which finished in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The 29-year-old from Finland and co-driver Jarmo Lehtinen held the lead from the opening stage on Wednesday to claim their first win on the legendary event. Although Sebastien Ogier closed to within 38.3 seconds of them with his seventh stage victory on Friday evening, the Peugeot 207 driver's bid for a second successive win in the Principality was cruelly ended when he retired on the road section heading to the penultimate stage.

Ogier's retirement, the result of a broken alternator pulley shaft, elevated Skoda's Juho Hanninen to second place with Nicolas Vouilloz claiming third on a one-off outing for the Czech firm. The result means Skoda tops the IRC Manufacturers' standings over M-Sport by four points.

Hanninen held second at the start of the day but fell behind Ogier on the first stage of Friday evening when his choice of winter tyre proved too conservative for the conditions, which were drier in parts than expected.

Stephane Sarrazin was the lead Peugeot 207 driver home in fourth. Having lost time with a puncture and a crash into a snow bank earlier in the event, Sarrazin had an anxious wait at the first service halt in Monaco on Friday afternoon while his PH Sport mechanics rushed to replace a broken front differential. Their efforts were rewarded when he went fastest on stage 13, despite the lack of a functioning first gear. He was quickest again on the last stage of the event.

Jan Kopecky, the runner-up in last year's IRC Drivers' standings, dropped out of contention with a puncture on the very first stage. A second puncture on day two added to his woes but he gradually fought back to claim fifth and four Drivers' championship points. With the 2009 champion, Kris Meeke, crashing his Peugeot UK 207 S2000 on Friday's first stage, Kopecky's recovery could prove decisive as the season progresses.

Briton Guy Wilks made it four Skoda Fabia Super 2000s in the top six, with a solid drive to sixth overall. He bemoaned poor tyre choice and a lack of experience of driving his Fabia on asphalt for his failure to challenge higher up the order although he achieved his aim of a points finish.

Portugal's Bruno Magalhaes and Frenchman Jean-Sebastien Vigion completed the points scorers with seventh and eighth respectively in their Peugeot 207s.

Like Ogier, Franz Wittmann failed to go the distance when he damaged his 207 hitting a wall on stage 13. Toni Gardemeister withdrew heading to the day's opening stage with engine damage sustained in a crash on Friday afternoon.

Clio R3 European Trophy competitor Kris Princen won the IRC 2WD Cup in 11th overall after surviving a puncture on Friday evening. Young Corsican Pierre Campana took an impressive second in class on his Monte Carlo Rally debut after making repairs to a broken water expansion tank following the penultimate stage.

Hirvonen ran on Pirelli tyres throughout the Monte Carlo event, sealing the Italian company's first overall victory in the IRC series.

The 78th Monte Carlo Rally was characterised by an unprecedented 14 hours of spectacular live television coverage from Eurosport, allowing viewers all over the world to see the action directly as it happened.  

  DRIVER QUOTES  
  "It's always been a dream of mine to win the Monte Carlo Rally. I have to say the car has been perfect from start to finish thanks to the mechanics who worked so hard to get everything ready. It was never easy but thanks to an excellent job from the team we were able to win having led from the start. I've really enjoyed this experience and I'd love to come back again. It was a shame Sebastien Ogier had his technical problem because it was a great battle but it also came as a relief that he stopped. We had a perfect tyre from Pirelli. I am very happy."
Mikko Hirvonen, first overall

"Of course it's good to get some points but it's disappointing we lost the fight to Ogier. But I am happy with second place following a difficult rally in difficult conditions. I am very pleased to have got to the end. If anything it was even harder than last year but I think we've improved and the car has improved so we can look forward to what I am sure will be a very strong season for us. I would like to congratulate Mikko for a fantastic job."
Juho Hanninen, second overall

"My aim was to finish the Monte Carlo Rally for the first time and this is what I did. To do this with Skoda is also very good so I am very happy. It was not easy and perhaps I did not always have the speed or the confidence I wanted to be able to push. But I did not make any big mistakes and to be on the podium on this rally is a big achievement."
Nicolas Vouilloz, third overall  

 

Photos:

Posted: January 26, 2010 3:30 PM

Results

Posted: January 26, 2010 3:16 PM

1 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta S2000) 4h32m58.5s
2 Juho Hanninen/Mikko Markkula (Skoda Fabia S2000) +1m51.4s
3 Nicolas Vouilloz/Benjamin Veillas (Skoda Fabia S2000) +3m19.1s
4 Stephane Sarrazin/Jacques Julien Renucci (Peugeot 207 S2000) +7m25.5s
5 Jan Kopecky/Petr Stary (Skoda Fabia S2000) +8m48.7s
6 Guy Wilks/Phil Pugh (Skoda Fabia S2000) +9m24.5s
7 Bruno Magalhaes/Carlos Magalhaes (Peugeot 207 S2000) +9m45.4s
8 Jean-Sebastien Vigion/Stephane Prevot (Peugeot 207 S2000) +13m33.5s
9 Jaroslav Orsak/Karel Vajik (Skoda Fabia S2000) +21m16.6s
10 Andrej Jereb/Miran Kacin (Peugeot 207 S2000) +25m26.1s

Leading IRC 2WD Cup contenders: Kris Princen/Eddy Smeets (Renault Clio R3)
Leaders:
SS1-15 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta S2000) Stage Winners:

Tuesday 19 January
SSS: Lente-Col de Gaudissart (8.83km): Toni Gardemeister

Wednesday 20 January
SS1: Burzet-Lachamp Raphael (27.27km): Mikko Hirvonen
SS2: St Pierreville-Antraigues (45.17km): Sebastien Ogier
SS3: Burzet-Lachamp Raphael (27.27km): Mikko Hirvonen
SS4: St Pierreville-Antraigues (45.17km): Sebastien Ogier

Thursday 21 January
SS5: Labatie D'Andaure-St Pierre Sur Doux (25.30km): Nicolas Vouilloz
SS6: St Bonnet-St Julien Molhesabate-St Bonnet (25.67km): Sebastien Ogier
SS7: Lamastre-Gilhoc-Alboussiere (21.92km): Mikko Hirvonen
SS8: Labatie D'Andaure-St Pierre Sur Doux (25.30km): Juho Hanninen
SS9: St Bonnet-St Julien Molhesabate-St Bonnet (25.67km): Sebastien Ogier
SS10: Lamastre-Gilhoc-Alboussiere (21.92km): Sebastien Ogier

Friday 22 January
SS11: Montauban Sur Ouveze-Eygalayes (30.42km): Sebastien Ogier
SS12: Peira Cava-La Bollene Vesubie (18.42km): Sebastien Ogier
SS13: Lantosque-Luceram (19.13km): Stephane Sarrazin
SS14: Peira Cava-La Bollene Vesubie (18.42km): Juho Hanninen
SS15: Lantosque-Luceram (19.13km): Stephane Sarrazin

Video Clip - Meeke's off....

Posted: January 21, 2010 2:30 PM

Twitter Feeds

Posted: January 18, 2010 5:12 PM



KRIS MEEKE/PAUL NAGLE HEAD TO MONTE CARLO FOR ROUND 1 OF THE IRC

Posted: January 18, 2010 5:01 PM

It was forty two years ago that a British driver, Vic Elford, last won the Monte Carlo rally and Peugeot UK's reigning IRC champion Kris Meeke is aiming to change this.

The 2010 Monte Carlo rally is the first round of this year's Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) and is perhaps the most famous rally there is, whether you are an ardent rally fan or just a motoring enthusiast.

This year is the seventy eighth running of the Monte Carlo rally which starts on Tuesday 19 January, with a single super special stage and finishes in Monte Carlo in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Last year, Peugeot dominated the rally by occupying all three top positions with its Peugeot 207 S2000, based on its road-going 207 hatchback. This year, however, the competition will be even fiercer with a total of eight manufacturers contesting the 2010 IRC - Peugeot, Ford, Fiat Abarth, Honda, Skoda, Subaru, Proton and Ralliart (Mitsubishi). It is a result of the strong support from the many different manufacturers and the extensive TV coverage provided by Eurosport that the IRC is now the chosen rally series of the Monte Carlo Rally organisers, instead of the World Rally Championship.

This year will also see Britain's top two rally drivers go head to head over the 405 kms of the 15 special stages. Kris Meeke, 2009 IRC Drivers' Champion, driving his Peugeot UK supported Peugeot 207 S2000 will take on Skoda UK supported Guy Wilks, twice British Rally champion in his Skoda Fabia S2000. It was seven years ago that two top British drivers were last battling on the Monte Carlo rally and their names were Colin McRae and Richard Burns.

Kris partnered again by co-driver Paul Nagle will start the rally as favourite after he dominated the IRC last year, winning four rounds on his way to winning the Drivers' Championship and helping Peugeot secure its third consecutive Manufacturers' title.

Unprecedented TV coverage provided by Eurosport will see all but one of the special stages screened live, enabling fans to see all the action, as it happens. Four live stages on Wednesday, six on Thursday and four on Friday can be found on Eurosport and Eurosport 2.

Fifteen special stages, 405 kms, snow and ice covered roads mixed with normal tarmac and three days of competitive rallying lie in front of the eventual winner of this year's Monte Carlo Rally.

This year, after a full season in the IRC, Kris and Paul will be one of the favourites to win the rally and having tested extensively in snow and ice conditions, they cannot wait to get started!

Follow the day to day progress of Peugeot UK and Kris Meeke in this year's Monte Carlo rally via the team's Twitter link www.twitter.com/PeugeotNews, web-based rally radio hosted on the Peugeot.co.uk web site and all main rally web sites and for, iphone users, the Peugeot irally App .

Franz Wittmann Preview

Posted: January 18, 2010 4:52 PM

Last Turesday the new project of the Interwetten Racing Team was introduced to great media interest. Only a few hours later, Franz Wittmann already left his first tracks in the snow with the Peugeot 207 S2000. On the following Friday he departed for Monte Carlo where the recce for the 78th edition of the legendary Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo already started at Saturday. Thus the Lower Austrian had to cope with 969 kilometres in his private car prior to even tackling the first recce kilometre. After all, such ist the distance from Wels to Monte Carlo.

Wittmann: “That is no problem. In earlier times the Monte Carlo Rallye commenced from locations in all of Europe. Back then one also had to drive that long in order to even reach the start in Monte.”

Exactly, for when Franz Wittmann senior finished overall tenth in 1986 at the Monte he took up the rally from Bad Homburg, Germany. And if one looks at the map one can see that the distance from the health resort in the Taunus to Monte Carlo also measures exactly 969 kilometres.

Back to this year’s rally. The prologue has already been scheduled for Tuesday evening. This 8,83 kilometres long course shall define the starting order and is not taken into account for the ranking. The first ten will then start in toppled order on Wednesday.

Wittmann: “This is a kind of tuning into the rally. It is, of course, disadvantageous to finish tenth and be forced to take up the rally as first car on Wednesday. But at least you’re sure to get TV coverage. But I won’t put pressure on myself for even starting position 15 doesn’t mean all is lost in Monte.”

Especially not on day one. For there one has to complete 144,88 special stage kilometres (4 special stages) with only one tyre service. All other repairs that can’t be undertaken by the drivers and co’s themselves are prohibited.

Wittmann: “In such a case the rally can be over faster than you think. Therefore we will calmly continue the art of finding the right tune. There will be other rallies this year where we will attack to the fullest.”

Those who survive this day stand a good chance of reaching the finishing line in Monte. Even if the Interwetten-driver knows of another challenging highlight close to his heart: the special stage “Peira Cava – La Bollene Vesubie”, better known as Col de Turini. Prior to this very stage the only Austrian in the IRC field had had to retire last year.

Wittmann: “One dreams of this SS. And since quite a lot of dreams have already come true for me this year I am very confident that we will also conquer the Col de Turini on Friday.”

The “78th Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo 2010” will commence on January 19 at 17.00 in Valence with an eight kilometres long prologue. Its main objective is to decide the starting order. 15 special stages with a length of 405,1 kilometres are scheduled until the crossing of the finishing line on January 23 at 1.15 in the morning in Monte Carlo. The overall length measures 1.669,56 kilometres since the rally leads from Valence to the almost 400 km distant Monaco.

Currently the starting field of this year’s Monte Carlo Rally consists of 63 teams, amon them 20 drivers who, like Franz Wittmann and co-driver Klaus Wicha (staring number 12), steer an S2000 car. From the Rally World Championship, this time vice-champion Mikko Hirvonen, Sebastien Ogier and Toni Gardemeister will compete as guest drivers in the IRC series. One should also note the participation of Polish Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica who wil steer a Renault Clio R3.

TV Times

Posted: January 18, 2010 12:50 PM

Times are GMT (Irish)

Wed - 20 Jan 10
10:45-13:00 LIVE Eurosport 2 SS1 & SS2
13:45-15:00 LIVE Eurosport 2 SS3
15:00-16:00 LIVE Eurosport SS4

Thurs - 21 Jan 10
09:00-10:45 LIVE Eurosport 2 SS5 & SS6
11:15-12:15 LIVE Eurosport 2 SS7
14:15-15:00 LIVE Eurosport 2 SS8
15:00-16:00 LIVE Eurosport SS8 & SS9
22:00-22:30 Not Live Eurosport 2 SS10
22:45-23:15 Repeat Eurosport SS10

Fri - 22 Jan 10
18:00-19:45 LIVE Eurosport SS12 & SS13
22:00-23:45 LIVE Eurosport SS14 & SS15

Tues - 26 Jan 10
22:00-22:30 Review EUROSPORT

Full multimedia coverage of IRC Monte Carlo Rally

Posted: January 18, 2010 12:49 PM

TELEVISION - The Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo will be the most televised rally in the sport's history thanks to ground-breaking live coverage of 14 stages. In total, Eurosport, Europe’s largest television channel, and Eurosport 2, as well as Eurosport Asia-Pacific, will transmit 14 hours of live programmes over the three days of the competition.

INTERNET - The IRC reporting team will be on the ground in Valence from Monday January 18 and then in Monaco from Friday January 22 and will be posting regular news updates and driver interviews on the IRC website, www.rally-irc.com. When the competitive action gets underway on Wednesday January 20, live stage times, end of stage interviews and stage summaries will be available online. Images from each leg will also be posted in the gallery section while end of day video highlights will be uploaded.

RADIO - "Rally Radio" is planning full live coverage throughout the event, with live results, interviews and all the latest news directly from the stages. The "Rally Radio" link will be accessible from www.irc-rally.com throughout the event.

iPHONE - The new IRC iPhone application is free to download from Appstore and allows all rally fans to catch up with all the latest news from the IRC, access live results from Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo and get up-to-the-minute information about the IRC rallies, drivers, teams and official standings.

Monte Carlo Rally Preview

Posted: January 18, 2010 12:46 PM

THE CHALLENGE
Two months after the curtain came down on the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge season in Scotland, the series bursts back into life on one of motorsport's showpiece events: Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo. And to befit a rally of such magnitude, an exciting driver line-up, including world rally star Mikko Hirvonen, Renault F1's Robert Kubica, IRC aces Kris Meeke and Jan Kopecky, plus several leading amateurs, will take the start in the French city of Valence on Tuesday January 19.

For the second season in a row, the Monte Carlo Rally will open the 12-event IRC schedule. Just as in 2009, a demanding route has been plotted with the 63 crews expected to tackle the 405 competitive kilometres over 15 special stages prior to the finish in Monaco in the early hours of Saturday January 23.

The event will continue to be based in Valence, the capital of the department of Drome, in the Valentinois region of France. As well as the ceremonial start, the main service park will also be located in the city before the event heads south to Monaco for the final quartet of stages on the night of Friday January 22.

But it's the narrow mountainous roads in the Ardeche region that will provide the backdrop for the bulk of the competitive action on Wednesday January 20 and Thursday January 21. On Wednesday the itinerary will consist of the Burzet-Lachamp Raphael and St Pierreville-Antraigues stages run twice with remote service in the town of Vals les Bains, where crucial tyre changes will be permitted. On Thursday the route heads to the north of Drome for three repeated stages split by service in Valence.

Friday's final leg starts in Valence. Following a stage from Montauban sur l'Ouveze to Eygalayes, crews continue south to Monaco where they will service before the first run over the famous Col de Turini, which is included on the Peira-Cava to La Bollene Vesubie stage. After three more stages, including a second run over Col de Turini, the surviving competitors head back to Monaco and the finish just after 01:00hrs on Saturday.

In a change to the format for this year's rally, a nine-kilometre prologue stage will get the action underway on January 19 following the ceremonial start in the Champ de Mars in Valence. The run between Lente and Col de Gaudissart will determine the starting order of the rally, which gets underway with leg one on January 20. Although the standings won't influence the final outcome, they could be pivotal in the event of the inclement weather synonymous with the rally.

Given the rally's mountainous location the weather is notoriously changeable and that means a stage could start in dry conditions but finish on ice-coated roads. Because opportunities to change tyres are restricted, drivers regularly have to compromise when selecting their choice of rubber for a loop of stages. The result is drivers frequently having to adopt a cautious approach on one stage if their tyres are not suited to the conditions, but then being able to push on the next test if their tyres are ideal for the stage surface.

It can lead to drivers losing chunks of time on one stage but then quickly regaining any lost ground on the subsequent run. Even in dry conditions, the varying quality of the road surface means grip levels often change.

Crews will prepare for the event with a three-day reconnaissance of the stages from Saturday January 16 to Monday January 18. They will also be able to use additional stage information gathered by their safety crews, who are authorised to pass through the stages shortly before they are used competitively to give up-to-date information on the road surface and any potential hazards that might lie in store.

THE COMPETITORS

Peugeot starts 2010 on the back of winning its third IRC manufacturers' title. Briton Kris Meeke, who claimed the drivers' crown last season with four wins, tops the list of 207 runners in a Peugeot UK-backed entry. But he will face strong opposition from French drivers Sebastien Ogier, last year's shock winner, and Peugeot development pilot Stephane Sarrazin. Portuguese Bruno Magalhaes will make his Monte Carlo debut but is a known quantity on asphalt. Austrian Franz Wittmann, who spent 2009 driving a Mitsubishi Lancer, switches to a 207 for the new campaign and will be a solid performer.

Skoda is set to provide Peugeot with its sternest test. Jan Kopecky, last year's IRC runner-up, heads the three-strong factory effort that also includes Juho Hanninen and Nicolas Vouilloz. Hanninen led in Monte Carlo last year before rolling, while Kopecky claimed fourth overall. Vouilloz won the IRC drivers' title in 2008 but endured a frustrating season last year, which began when he crashed on the Monte. He switches from Peugeot Team Belux to drive a Skoda Fabia S2000 in competition for the first time. Of the other Skoda drivers, the inclusion of Guy Wilks on the entry provides added intrigue. The Briton won the RAC MSA Rally of Scotland, last year's IRC season finale, in a Skoda UK-supported Fabia.

Abarth will count on several privateer drivers to fly the flag for the Italian make. Finn Toni Gardemeister provides the firm's best chance of victory. His Grande Punto will be run by the Italian Astra Racing concern. He was in contention for a podium finish last season until an electrical fault intervened and forced his retirement. French drivers Olivier Marty and Renaud Poutot will also appear in Grande Puntos.

For the first time ever, M-Sport will be represented in the IRC. The British preparation firm overseas Ford's World Rally Championship programme and is responsible for the design and development of the Fiesta S2000. Two examples of the machine will appear in Monte Carlo: WRC event winner Mikko Hirvonen will drive the lead car with French youngster Julien Maurin appearing in a second entry. Hirvonen, from Finland, finished second on the event when it last counted for the WRC in 2008. Maurin took part in 2009 in an Abarth Grande Punto but retired with mechanical woes.

Subaru also joins the IRC this season and boasts French ace Bryan Bouffier as its expected star performer. The Polish rally champion will drive for Tommi Makinen Racing and should challenge for a top ten placing. Swiss Olivier Burri and Frenchman Jerome Aymard should also show well.

Italian Gabriele Noberasco heads Ralliart's challenge in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. Frederic Romeyer, from France, will also drive an Evo IX. Irish veteran Eamonn Boland, who has extensive Monte Carlo experience, will have a new Evo X model at his disposal. His countryman, Daniel Barry, is highly rated after winning the one-make Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge in the UK last season.

Proton is also registered for the IRC but won't make its first appearance of the season until Rally d'Italia Sardegna in June when Alister McRae, younger brother of rally legend Colin McRae, will drive one of the two factory cars.

The Monte Carlo Rally hosts the opening round of the Clio R3 European Trophy, which will also appear on the IRC-counting Geko Ypres Rally in Belgium and Barum Czech Rally Zlin later in the season. Drivers registered for the European Trophy will be able to score points in the IRC 2WD Cup on those three rallies. While Belgian Kris Princen can count on plenty of experience, rising Corsican star Pierre Campana and Grand Prix driver Robert Kubica can be expected to challenge for the category win. Kubica, from Poland, is a self-confessed rally fan and is tackling selected events alongside his programme with the Renault F1 team.

THE EXPECTATIONS
"It's the oldest and the most prestigious rally in the world and it really makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up just thinking about it because it's also the most daunting and challenging event of the year. From a driving point of view your heart is in your mouth all the time because the conditions are constantly changing and you're never always on the right tyre. You can win the rally not by going quickest on any of the stages but by reading the conditions correctly and trusting your instincts."
Kris Meeke, Peugeot UK driver and defending IRC champion

"Every driver wants to win the Monte Carlo Rally because it is so tough and never easy with the changing weather conditions. It's not my favourite rally in the world but it's an event I do like and, in the past, I have had some good results. To be successful you need to concentrate on your pacenotes all the time and trust the information provided by your ice note crew because the stages can be very tricky in places. You also need to be brave and have a car that is very reliable."
Toni Gardemeister, Abarth Grande Punto privateer

"I've always had a difficult relationship with this rally. I love the rally when I am not competing on it but when you get there and the conditions are hard then it can be tough. But it's a great challenge and has a long history so it's very important to win this rally. The Fiesta Super 2000 is a new car but I've had a good feeling with it when we have tested on Tarmac so I hope we can develop it more and try to win. But I know my rivals have a lot of experience in their cars and did Monte Carlo last year so that will help them."
Mikko Hirvonen, M-Sport Fiesta driver

Barry & Brady Embark on Rallye Monte Carlo Challenge

Posted: January 18, 2010 12:29 PM

Irish rally crew Daniel Barry & Martin Brady travel this week to compete on the prestigious Rallye Monte Carlo, arguably one of the worlds most famous sporting events, and in its 78th year. This is the duo’s first event as reigning Mitsubishi UK Evo Challenge champions, and they have set their 2010 sights on tackling selected rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC). The IRC visits 10 countries over 12 rallies, quickly becoming the most exciting and innovative rally championship in the world at this time.

The crew will continue to drive their 2009 championship winning Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9, prepared by Daniel and his team back home in Co Wexford, Ireland. This is undoubtedly the biggest event the crew and team have embarked on, but one they are looking forward to. Daniel is conscious that Monte Carlo is a difficult and varied challenge, with over 400 competitive kilometres, most of which will be on snow, slush and black ice over the twisty French Alpine passes. Daniel commented “Just getting to the finish of the rally will be a satisfying result in itself for us, I know that it’s an event unlike any other that we have tackled before so I’m hoping that a cautious approach will give us the chance to learn the roads, avoid some of the dangers and get to the finish”

It is a big team effort for the family based operation with no less than 12 people travelling to the event to assist Daniel and Martin in many roles, from working on the car to catering and time management. Included in this back room team are friends and fellow competitors Craig Breen and Karl Atkinson, also travelling from Ireland as the Barry Motorsport ice note crew. Ice note crews are permitted to travel the route just over an hour before Daniel and Martin arrive at competitive speeds, marking any newly formed ice or snow which may have appeared since the pre-event reconnaissance of the stages, 3 days ago, when Daniel will have made his event pace notes. This is a vital part of the Rallye Monte Carlo as weather conditions in the mountains are changeable at best, so to have the most up-to-date information is crucial.

The event starts on Tuesday evening with a prologue stage over Col de la Machine, the results of this stage determine the starting positions for stage one of the event on Wednesday, quite simply its ‘fastest first’. The event will then move over 15 special stages with the first two days being based in the city of Valance before moving to the town of Monte Carlo for the last marathon day starting at 6am on Friday in Valence and finishing at 2am on Monte Carlos prestigious Quai Albert.

Regular updates and photos will be available on the team website www.barrymotorsport.com, Facebook users can keep up-to-date throughout the days of the event on the “Barry Motorsport” page and on Twitter.

Tom Cave to tackle Rally Monte Carlo at just 18

Posted: January 18, 2010 12:01 PM

Welsh rally sensation Tom Cave is set to contest the most iconic rally in the history of the sport next week, when he competes in the 2010 Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo. The event will be the youngster’s biggest challenge yet, since it is widely regarded as the most technical and daunting event in rallying but the 18 year-old is unfazed by the rally’s fearsome reputation.

The Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo is one of the oldest events in any rallying calendar and this year, features as the opener to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. Tom will be heading for Valence in France, the location for the start of the event, with his outstanding eighth place finish on last year’s finale, Rally of Scotland, fresh in his mind.

He will be using the same Group N Ford Fiesta ST that he used in 2009, since with the challenges of the Monte, switching to his new car for next week could have proved one new step too many for the youngster, who will again be partnered by experienced co-driver Craig Parry.

Monte Carlo throws up a raft of challenges for drivers, not least of which is the possibility of facing dry asphalt, snow and sheet ice all in the same stage. Therefore, information and tyre choice are crucial to finishing the event, let alone success.

It is not uncommon for drivers to face a stage of say 30Km in length, with 25Km of dry, smooth tarmac and 5Km of sheet ice, sometimes up or down hills to add to the drama. Knowing where this ice is is crucial and that’s why the Monte is one of a few events to allow each competing car a Safety Crew, which drives the course several hours before the competing crew and reports back on the conditions.

Performing the task for Tom and Craig next week will be Simon Hughes, partnered by Claire Mole. Simon and Claire used to compete in the car Tom used in 2009 and will be using next week, so they will know exactly the information they need to relay back to Tom and Craig before the start of each stage.

Commenting on the prospect, Tom said; “I think the chance to do the Monte Carlo Rally, at the age of just 18, is amazing. It’s an incredibly rare opportunity and I feel privileged to be able to compete on the most iconic event in rallying.

“It will be a massive challenge but one I am determined to rise to. I’m lucky that I have a fantastic team of people to support me; Craig in the car with me, Simon and Claire in the gravel car, my Father as Team Manager and the Davies MotorSport team running the car.

“We’re using the Fiesta as I’m familiar with it and won’t need to learn it but we are hoping to get a short test in the week before the event, just so I can get my game-face back on, as I won’t have driven it since Rally of Scotland in November last year.

“I’ve also been working with Craig to tighten up my pace note system and will be spending some time with Nicky Grist [former WRC co-driver] prior to the event, to work on my notes even further and pick up as many tips for this event as possible.”

While the conditions will create a new challenge for Tom, so will the format of the event. Tom has been used to what has widely been adopted as the standard format for modern rallying; a ceremonial start or superspecial stage on Thursday evening, followed by three days of action, mainly during daylight with the finish on Sunday afternoon.
However, the Monte has a reputation for innovation and this year’s itinerary is no different.

The event begins with a prologue on Tuesday 19 January, to determine the running order for the start of the event. Wednesday 20 Jan sees a fairly traditional day of rallying based around Valence, with four stages contested with a further six on Thursday 21 Jan. However, it is Friday 22 January that sees the usual format change, with the car leaving Valance and tackling a single stage on their way to Monaco.

Here they spend a minimum of 3.5 hours before leaving the principality at around 6pm to tackle four stages in darkness, in two pairs of two stages. The first of these two pairs features a run over the legendry Col de Turini, fittingly perhaps the most famous location in all of rallying and a huge challenge in daylight, let alone at 11.30 at night.

Commenting, Tom said;
“The format is definitely very different to what I’m used to. The prologue to determine the start order could work well for us. If we get a decent result, then a higher road position would be useful, as any ice on the stages will probably polish as the cars go over and become worse for the later cars.

“I think, if ever there was an event where the target is simply to get to the finish, then this is it. The challenges I am likely to face next week will be like nothing I’ve come across before. I’ve driven on tarmac, snow and ice before but never on the same set of tyres and never on the same stage. If I can say that I conquered Rally Monte Carlo at the age of 18, then I will be very happy.”

While the event officially finishes at 02.30hrs on Saturday 23 January, the prize giving will be held at 11.00hrs later that day, to give the crews a chance to catch up on some rest following what will prove to be, for younger drivers at least, the most gruelling event of their careers.

Wilks ready for Rallye Monte Carlo with Škoda UK

Posted: January 15, 2010 1:13 PM

Ten years after contesting his first rally, Guy Wilks will begin the most exciting challenge of his career, when he tackles the opening round of the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), Rallye Monte Carlo (January 19-23), in a Škoda UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000.

Monaco and the famous Alpine special stages above it are a long way from Croft Circuit, near Darlington, and the Jack Frost Stages Rally that saw an 18-year old local make his rally debut. In the least powerful car in the field, Guy held an incredible 4th place in his small 68bhp hatchback, before the snow and ice melted and the more powerful cars pushed him outside the top ten by the finish.

How things have changed. Guy, a double British Rally Champion with vast international rally experience, will have around 200bhp more and one of rallying’s most modern and desirable cars in Monte Carlo, as he celebrates ten years in the sport.

This will be the fourth time Guy has contested Rallye Monte Carlo – each time with co-driver Phil Pugh reading the pace notes. The three previous attempts at such a notorious specialised rally, plus an excellent pre-Christmas test in south-east France, have prepared Guy well and he hopes to celebrate his 29th birthday on the final day of the rally (Friday 22 January) by giving Škoda UK Motorsport a solid points-scoring start to the IRC.

Guy Wilks: “Rallye Monte Carlo is a very specialised event, and experience is a big help. The rally’s not only a great sporting challenge, it’s a big test of your mind. In the ever changing road conditions, tyre choice is often a compromise and you have to control your emotions when you’re on the wrong tyres and losing time. Only with experience can you be comfortable in that situation and be ready to regain the lost time, and more, on the next stage, when conditions favour your tyres.

“We had a very good test in the Škoda Fabia before Christmas near Grenoble. Twenty-five per cent of the mountain pass we used was dry Tarmac, and the rest was covered in ice and snow, so we were able to test all variants of tyre, from full slicks to studs. We were able to see exactly how much time was lost and gained running different tyres on different surfaces, and that’s ideal preparation for Rallye Monte Carlo.

“On every surface, the Fabia S2000 is fantastic. The balance of the car is excellent and the engine is very strong; it’s almost just a case of getting the damper settings right, putting on the tyres and driving it as fast as we can! Juho Hänninen led Monte Carlo last year in a Škoda Fabia S2000, and that shows how competitive the car can be on the event.

“I’m not thinking of victory in Monte Carlo, because with experience comes the knowledge that you don’t win a championship on the opening round. It’s more important get a good start to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge and leave Monte Carlo with a secure haul of points. Winning Monte Carlo is a dream for any rally driver, but it’s not the overall aim in 2010 for myself and Skoda UK Motorsport – although a podium finish would be nice!”

The official start of the 78th Rallye Monte Carlo takes place at 17.00 (local time) on Tuesday 19 January in the Champ de Mars in Valence, situated 65 miles (105kms) south of Lyon. From there, crews go directly to a 9km prologue stage, which will determine the starting order for the following day.

Leg 1 on Wednesday 21 January sees crews compete over the classic Burzet - Lachamp Raphael and St-Pierreville – Antraigues stages (both run twice) in the Ardeche, with stops to change tyres in Vals les Bains. Leg 2 on Thursday 21 January sees three more stages run twice, with service in Valence.

Leg 3 begins early on Friday 22 January with the Montauban Sur l’Ouvèze-Eygalayes stage. From there a 148 mile (239km) road section takes crews to Monte Carlo, for service and a short rest, before the final four stages of the event that evening – including two runs over the famous Col de Turini.

After 15 special stages totalling 251.7 miles (405.1kms), Rallye Monte Carlo ends at 01.15 on Saturday 23 January, with the official prizegiving at 13.00 the same day.

Eurosport will devote 14 hours of television time to this year’s Rallye Monte Carlo, with much of the action broadcast live

Peugeot 207 S2000 for Franz Wittmann

Posted: January 13, 2010 5:07 PM



One really didn’t have to be a soothsayer in order to notice at the Rallye Waldviertel 2009 that Franz Wittmann and the Peugeot 207 S2000 have a perfect understanding. And thanks to his sponsor Interwetten the 26-year-old Lower Austrian will continue this partnership. Following Wittmann’s performances last season the internationally highly successful betting provider decided to support Franz Wittmann in his second season, as well. He was furthermore given the opportunity to change into a “higher class” which will enable Franz Wittmann to compete for one or more absolute top results.

“Following our very successful testing year in the IRC we are now looking excitedly forward to the performance of our young hopeful with a competitive car. Interwetten wholeheartedly supports Franz and wishes him the biggest of successes”, explains Interwetten-founder Wolfgang Fabian.

Interwetten Sponsoring- and PR-Manager Michael Summer expects some definite highlights this year already at the IRC runs. But he also stresses the profound basis which had already been set last year.

Summer: “As an Austrian company we want to offer a young native talent the opportunity to make his mark in international motor sports. This cooperation is meant as a long-term one. After Franz Wittmann has already fulfilled and even exceeded the expectations of Interwetten.com in 2009, we feel justified in our decision.”

Now it is up to Franz Wittmann to continue his success run in 2010. The road for this has been paved even though there are still many kilometres to complete with the new car. For in this class especially experience counts for more than anywhere else.

Wittmann: “On the one hand it is a great feeling to know that one drives an absolutely competitive car. On the other hand it is also a big responsibility since now we will be judged in comparison with the top drivers. I will, in any case, do my all so that my sponsor Interwetten will be convinced of having made the right decision at the end of 2010, as well.”

The Peugeot 207 S2000 stems from the tuning wizards of Ronald Leschhorn – ROMO Motorsporttechnik. The German is far from unknown in the house of Wittmann. In 2001 he already had deployed the very Toyota Corolla WRC which enabled Franz Wittmann sen. to win his twelfth National Championship title. But his business card also boasts of drivers like Walter Röhrl, Ari Vatanen, Juha Kankkunen or Carlos Sainz.

The Peugeot which Franz Wittmann will steer in the IRC 2010 is state of the art.

Leschhorn: “The engine, gearbox and differentials are in accordance with evolution step 2010. The cooperation with a sponsor like Interwetten, as well as with Peugeot Sport in Paris are important stepping stones to success.”

Just like last year the rally season for Franz Wittmann starts in Monte Carlo. The IRC rookie caused a stir last year by being top-ten until the “Night of the Long Knives”. There he unfortunately had to retire due to a technical defect through no fault of his own. Therefore the Lower Austrian still has an account to settle with the Col de Turini.

Wittmann: “I won’t let this be taken away from me this year. This is the kind of special stage one looks forward to during a whole year. These are 20 kilometres that demand everything of you. But you nevertheless savour each metre on this course.”

This year, Klaus Wicha will take place in the co-driver’s seat. The 49-year-old German already looks back on a very successful career. Among others he navigated Andreas Aigner to the World Championship title in the P-WRC in 2008.

While the premiere in Monte Carlo has been affixed one is yet undecided in the Interwetten Racing Team concerning the further assignments. Seven to eight IRC runs in Europe have been planned. But there is also the possibility of competing in the two runs in Brazil and Argentina which would mean two runs less in Europe. The seven best results of the year count for the IRC ranking.

The “78th Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo 2010” will commence on January 19 at 17.00 in Valence with an eight kilometres long prologue. Its main objective is to decide the starting order. 15 special stages with a length of 405,1 kilometres are scheduled until the crossing of the finishing line on January 23 at 1.15 in the morning in Monte Carlo. The overall length measures 1.669,56 kilometres since the rally leads from Valence to the almost 400 km distant Monaco. “The Night of the Long Knives” will, of course, once more be the highlight of the rally. Thereby the special stages “Peira Cava – La Bollene Vesuble”, better known as Col de Turini, and “Lantosque – Luceram” will be completed twice during the night from Friday on Saturday.

Škoda UK Motorsport and Guy Wilks team up for IRC challenge

Posted: January 11, 2010 8:32 PM

Škoda UK Motorsport will enter a Fabia Super 2000 for Guy Wilks and co-driver Phil Pugh on the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC).

Guy, from Darlington in County Durham, is one of Britain’s most exciting rally talents, having won the British Rally Championship twice (2007 and ’08) and finished runner-up in the 2005 FIA Junior Rally Championship. The 28-year old driver won the RAC MSA Rally of Scotland last November, driving a Škoda Fabia S2000 in competition for the first time.

Phil, from Tywyn in Gwynedd, enters his eighth consecutive season as Guy’s co-driver. The 39-year old Welshman was British Champion in 2007, and his experience and skill will be of significant importance in the rallies which lay ahead.

Škoda UK Motorsport will contest selected rounds of the IRC, beginning with the opening round of the series, Rallye Monte Carlo (January 19-23). It will also defend its Rally of Scotland title (October 14-16).

The exciting new Škoda UK Motorsport operation is an official satellite team, working independently – but closely – with Škoda Motorsport. The car’s colour scheme will combine Škoda’s iconic motorsport colours of green, white and red with a Union Jack to highlight the proud UK team effort. The car will be unveiled at Autosport International (NEC, 14-17 January).

In preparation for Rallye Monte Carlo, Guy tested a Škoda Fabia S2000 on asphalt mountain roads near Grenoble in south-east France just before Christmas, completing around 62 miles (100kms).

Guy Wilks: “I am very excited about the season ahead and driving for Škoda UK Motorsport in the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge. Our victory in Scotland last year showed what potential the Fabia S2000 has. It’s a fantastic car to drive and it suits my driving style. This year’s programme has come together incredibly quickly, and everyone at Škoda UK Motorsport is highly motivated to succeed. You can guarantee that Phil and I will start every rally with one thing on our minds – and it will involve driving as fast as we possibly can!”

Robert Hazelwood, Head of Škoda UK Motorsport: “Our participation in the 2010 IRC brings added excitement to the brand, and we are looking forward to the season ahead. Guy Wilks, Phil Pugh and the Fabia S2000 rally car proved what is possible by winning last year’s RAC MSA Rally of Scotland. The IRC is a demanding series and the opposition is world class, yet we believe Škoda UK Motorsport has a strong package and the ability to do well at every rally we contest.”

Entry List

Posted: January 11, 2010 5:33 PM

1 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Peugeot 207 S2000) [N4]
2 Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Fiesta S2000) [N4]
3 Jan Kopecky/Petr Stary (Skoda Fabia S2000) [N4]
4 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Peugeot 207 S2000) [N4]
5 Juho Hanninen/Mikko Markkula (Skoda Fabia S2000) [N4]
6 Stéphane Sarrazin/J. Renucci (Peugeot 207 S2000) [N4]
7 Nicolas Vouilloz/Benjamin Veillas (Skoda Fabia S2000) [N4]
8 Toni Gardemeister/Tomi Tuominen (Fiat Grande Punto S2000) [N4]
9 Bruno Magalhaes/Carlos Magalhaes (Peugeot 207 S2000) [N4]
10 Guy Wilks/Philip Pugh (Skoda Fabia S2000) [N4]
11 Bryan Bouffier/Xavier Panseri (Subaru Impreza STI) [N4]
12 Franz Wittmann/Klaus Wicha (Peugeot 207 S2000) [N4]
14 Olivier Marty/Thomas Roux (Fiat Grande Punto S2000) [N4]
15 Julien Maurin/Gilles Thimonier (Ford Fiesta S2000) [N4]
16 J. Vigion/ Sébastien (Peugeot 207 S2000) [N4]
17 Renaud Poutot/Lionel Currat (Fiat Grande Punto S200) [N4]
18 Olivier Burri/Stéphane Rey (Subaru Impreza STI) [N4]
19 Gabriele Noberasco/Daniele Michi (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9) [N4]
20 Luca Betti/ (Peugeot 207 S2000) [N4]
21 Daniel Oliveira/ (Peugeot 207 S2000) [N4]
22 Jaroslav Orsak/Karel Vajik (Skoda Fabia S2000) [N4]
23 Andrej Jereb/Miran Kacin (Peugeot 207 S2000) [N4]
24 Frédéric Romeyer/ (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9) [N4]
25 Jérôme Aymard/Sandrine Aymard (Subaru Impreza STI) [N4]
26 Vojtech Stajf/Marcela Doleckova (Subaru Impreza STI) [N4]
27 Richard Banks/Chris O’connor (Subaru Impreza) [N4]
28 Eamonn Boland/MJ Morrissey (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 10) [N4]
29 Richard Frau/LE GARS Serge (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 10) [N4]
30 Franck Phillips/Laurent Gallibert (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 10) [N4]
31 Alessandro Proh/Angelo Dell’agostino (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 10) [N4]
32 Miguel Baudouin/J. Gastinel (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 10) [N4]
33 Daniel Barry/Martin Brady (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo) [N4]
34 Michele Cinotto/Pietro Cinotto (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9) [N4]
35 Pierre Campana/ (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
36 Kris Princen/Eddy Smeets (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
37 Robert Kubica/Jakub Gerber (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
38 Mathieu Arzeno/Romain Roche (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
39 Eric Mauffrey/Gaetan Houssin (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
40 Jan Cerny/Pavel Kohout (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
41 Christophe Fontaine/Yvon Colas (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
42 Thomas Barral/Sabrina Seux (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
43 Simone Campedelli/Danilo Fappani (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
44 Jean Michel Raoux/ (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
45 Giacomo Ogliari/Marco Verdelli (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
46 Guy Dutreuil/Laurent Mallon (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
47 Giuseppe Freguglia/Gabriele Falzone (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
48 Matteo Gamba/Emanuele Inglesi (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
49 Ettore Caranna/Maurizio Messina (Renault Clio R3) [A7]
50 Pierre Tanci/Eric Martini (Citroen C2 R2 Max) [A6]
51 Harry Hunt/George Gnynn (Ford Fiesta R2) [A6]
52 Umberto Soletta/Francesco Fresu (Renault Clio S1600) [A6]
53 Alberto Bonacini/Antonello Moncada (Citroen C2 R2 Max) [A6]
54 Michel Farnaud/Thierry Giraud (Citroen Saxo kit car) [A6]
55 Lilian Vialle/Patrice Roissac (Renault Clio Ragnotti) [A3]
56 Tom Cave/Craig Parry (Ford Fiesta) [A3]
57 Martin Rada/Jaroslav Jugas (Alfa 147 TS) [A3]
58 Arnaud Monnet/Bertrand Chagot (Peugeot 206 RC) [A3]
59 Pietro Silvaggi/Mario Pizzuti (Ford Fiesta ST) [A3]
60 Daniel Cambon/Valérie Antherieu (Renault Clio Ragnotti) [A3]
61 Alessandro Prosdocimo/Mauro Nadin (Ford Fiesta) [A3]
62 Lukasz Ryznar/Michal Jucewicz (Opel Astra OPC) [A3]
63 Maurice Dumas/Geneviève Dumas (Suzuki Swift) [N2]
64 Christophe Berard/Christophe Bernabo (Skoda Fabia) [N1]

Kubica to make IRC debut on Monte Carlo Rally

Posted: January 10, 2010 1:24 PM

Renault Formula One driver Robert Kubica will enter Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo, the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, in a Renault Clio R3.

The 25-year-old is a keen rally fan and has taken part in two rallies so far at the wheel of a Clio R3. He crashed on his debut event, the Taormina-Messina Rally in Sicily last November but, went on to finish 29th overall on the Rallye du Var in France later that month.

Kubica, who will be co-driven by fellow Pole Jakub Gerber, said: “It’s no secret that I like rallying so I try this for fun. Also, there is time in the Formula One winter break to do this.”

The rally starts in Valence, France, on 19 January and finishes in Monte Carlo on January 23. It covers 405 competitive kilometres over 15 special stages and will receive extensive live television coverage on Eurosport. Reconnaissance runs from 16-18 January with the prologue stage, which determines the starting order for the first leg, taking place on the evening of 19 January.

As well as counting for the IRC, the Monte Carlo Rally is the first round of the six-event Clio R3 European Trophy.

MAGALHAES GETS SET FOR MONTE CARLO DEBUT

Posted: December 28, 2009 10:39 PM

Bruno Magalhaes is set to make his Monte Carlo Rally debut next season in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000.

The Portuguese driver has contested selected rounds of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in recent seasons, claiming an impressive second overall on Rali Vinho Madeira earlier this year. He covered approximately 170 kilometres during a test in France recently and was satisfied with his performance.

"It was the first time in my life I drove in the snow so the test helped a lot," said Magalhaes. "I managed to adapt quickly even though the conditions are nothing like I have experienced in the Portuguese championship. The mountains were very cold and there was lots of snow and ice, not like a normal asphalt stage, which will make it a demanding rally if the conditions are the same. We had all the options of tyres available so we could learn how the car behaved in different circumstances."

OGIER TIPPED FOR MONTE CARLO RETURN

Posted: December 18, 2009 1:55 PM

Sebastien Ogier is on course to repeat his shock Monte Carlo Rally victory of last January after being linked to a drive in a Peugeot 207 Super 2000. Ogier, was competing for the BFGoodrich Drivers Team when he won the Intercontinental Rally Challenge season opener almost 12 months ago.

It was the French driver's first time in a Super 2000 car and his first time contesting the famous event. After winning the event, Ogier spoke of his desire to tackle more rounds of the IRC. He said at the time:
"It was very exciting to be doing the Monte Carlo Rally and I enjoyed it very much and also the IRC."

Stephane Sarrazin is confirmed to run in Monte Carlo, driving a privately-run Peugeot 207 S2000 with help from the Peugeot factory. Sarrazin, who is currently testing in preparation of the event, said:
"I'm really looking forward to the Monte Carlo Rally. I feel that I have improved a lot as a rally driver after the last year and I have benefitted from having more experience. However, there are going to be some very strong drivers there this year, with a field that is even stronger than last year, so I don't want to make too many predictions. I feel that I can challenge though, and I am certainly going to enjoy it."

IRISH DRIVERS TEMPTED BY MONTE CARLO IRC

Posted: December 13, 2009 12:50 PM

Two leading Irish drivers are planning to enter next year's Monte Carlo Rally, which will feature extensive live coverage on Eurosport

Eamonn Boland, the 2008 Irish Tarmac champion, and Daniel Barry, who won the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge in the UK this season, are due to compete in a pair of Mitsubishi Lancers.

Boland, who will drive a latest specification Lancer E10, said: "It can be a hard rally but it's also a great rally to go and do at that time of the year."

VOUILLOZ JOINS SKODA FOR MONTE CARLO

Posted: December 13, 2009 12:50 PM

Skoda has announced that it will field three factory Fabia Super 2000 cars at the Rallye Monte Carlo in January, following the decision to sign 2008 Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion, Nicolas Vouilloz.

Vouilloz, who competed in a Kronos Racing-run Peugeot Super 2000 last season, will link up with regulars Jan Kopecky and Juho Hanninen for what is the first event in the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

"The Monte Carlo Rally is an extremely challenging event and we see it as one of the most important races of the upcoming season," said Michal Hrabanek, head of Skoda Motorsport. "The 2009 Monte Carlo event successfully started off our new project Fabia Super 2000 and then the whole 2009 season was a success for our crews and a great motivation for the entire team to work hard also in the future."

HIRVONEN TO DEBUT NEW FIESTA S2000 IN MONTE CARLO RALLY

Posted: December 4, 2009 11:26 AM

Ford's FIA World Rally Championship runners-up, Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, will drive the all-new Ford Fiesta S2000 rally car, in what will be its competitive debut, in the famous Monte Carlo Rally early next year.

The Finns will use the five-day rally as a key part of their preparation for the 2010 WRC, which starts in February, while showcasing the exciting Fiesta S2000 rally car for the first time in competition. The car has been developed by Ford's rally partner, M-Sport, and made its first appearance as a safety car in November's Rally of Scotland which, like the Monte Carlo Rally, is not part of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Hirvonen, who missed out in the 2009 season on a maiden WRC drivers' title by just one point, has tested the Fiesta S2000 for the first time in the south of France this week.

"The Fiesta S2000 looks and sounds fantastic. It's great to finally drive it, be part of the development of a totally new car and I was surprised how quickly I got used to driving it. I was impressed by how good the setup and the chassis are and that allowed me to push really hard straight away. The conditions here in France have been difficult but even with a changing grip level I have been able to drive in a very committed way. It's been great to work with Christian and the team and to have had a positive input to the new project," said 29-year-old Hirvonen.

"I've driven the Monte Carlo Rally five times previously, so I'm familiar with the roads and the conditions. There are almost four months between the final round of 2009 and the start of the 2010 season, so this will be ideal for getting my mind back into competition mode."

"The 2010 WRC season begins almost a month later than usual so the Monte Carlo Rally will provide a perfect warm-up for Mikko," explained Ford of Europe's motorsport chief, Gerard Quinn. "It's also a great test opportunity. Road conditions usually vary between dry asphalt and snow or ice. There are four asphalt rallies in the 2010 series, so it will give Mikko valuable practice on that surface. If the weather is wintery, it will also be a good rehearsal for the WRC's first round in Sweden."

M-Sport managing director and BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team director Malcolm Wilson said the Fiesta S2000 was due for homologation in January, so the Monte Carlo Rally provided a perfect opportunity for the car's competition debut.

"Ford has a long association with the Monte Carlo Rally, which we won in 2006 with Marcus Grönholm in a Focus RS World Rally Car. It remains a legendary event and will provide spectators with an exciting chance to see the Fiesta S2000 in competitive action over classic stages such as the Col de Turini. Competition is the true challenge for any new car, and Mikko's feedback on its performance will prove valuable for our development programme," he added.

The Monte Carlo Rally will take place from January 19-23, 2010.

Interest surges towards 2010 Rallye Monte Carlo

Posted: December 4, 2009 11:23 AM

The revised route, premier TV package and incentives for amateur and top professional teams to compete in the 2010 Rallye Monte Carlo has met with a strong positive reaction from competitiors in readiness for the event on January 18-23.

With a much better chance of snow from being based in the high mountain passes of the Ardeche region, and innovations along the 550km route including a selection stage to be run on the evening of Tuesday 19 January to decide the running order of the rally, there are more opportunities than ever for fans and competitors.

With the opening day’s action leaving Valence for the Burzet and St Pierreville stages and the cost-cutting lack of service, there are many more variables to open up the competitiveness of the rally. The crews will be permitted a change of tyres between the two loops, but otherwise the cars will remain untouched by the mechanics throughout the leg.  

 

Barry / Brady to compete in Monte Carlo

Posted: December 4, 2009 11:21 AM

2009 Evo Challenge winners Daniel Barry/Martin Brady have placed an Entry for the 2010 Monte Carlo Rally

A BREAKTHROUGH IN SPORTS TV - FULL LIVE COVERAGE OF THE EVENT

Posted: December 4, 2009 11:14 AM

Eurosport Events, the promoter of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge), and ACM (Automobile Club de Monaco) have revealed at Sportel in Monaco the broadcast plan for the 2010 Rallye Monte-Carlo on January 20-23, which will be the most televised rally in the sport's history.

The ground-breaking coverage will bring live action throughout the event, totalling 14 hours of live coverage from the stages. These broadcasts full of innovation will reflect the prestige of the event, which will open the 2010 IRC season for the second consecutive year.

The Rallye Monte-Carlo, founded in 1911, is one of the world's most famous motor sport events in any discipline. It is famous for taking competitors through the snow and tricky asphalt stages in the Alpes Maritimes before reaching its ceremonial finish on the glittering streets of Monaco.

The unprecedented live action from the stages, including the epic Col du Turini stages run at night, will be using a mixture of aerial shots, on-board footage and land-based cameras, and will bring television viewers closer to the Monte Carlo Rally than they have ever been before.

Géraldine Filiol, Managing Director of Eurosport Events, said: “This is a world premiere in rallying, a tremendous bonus for the millions of fans around the world. We are naturally proud to open the IRC season in 2010 again with the Monte Carlo Rally and I am sure that our ambitious plans are worthy of a mythical motorsport event like this. What viewers can look forward to is witnessing the story of the Monte Carlo Rally unfold live over the three days of the event. This pioneering development is set to bring the sport to new standards of TV coverage".

Rene Isoart, General Commissioner of the ACM, added, “We have found within this IRC all the necessary ingredients to allow the Rally to return to the fundamental values of the sport and to see amateurs driving side by side with professional drivers, and this is very important for us. With this incredible TV coverage, we believe that our next rally will be again a great edition, with lots of participants and fantastic live images on TV as we have experienced in last January".

This unmatched live action will enable rally fans to see all the action thanks to a unique international media coverage, including live extensive broadcasts on Eurosport's channels (Eurosport, Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Asia-Pacific), complemented by coverage on EurosportNews and the Eurosport network of websites.

The IRC, organised and promoted by Eurosport Events, is an all-action cost-effective series which has seen seven manufacturers doing battle in 2009. With a full field of highly competitive machines crewed by a mixture of up-and-coming talent and established stars, the IRC delivers the very best of the sport’s traditions in a dynamic format for a new era.

Rallye Monte Carlo 2010 – Broadcasting Plan

    Wednesday 20 January: 4 Special Stages LIVE
    Thursday 21 January: 6 Special Stages LIVE
    Friday 22 January: 4 Special Stages LIVE

Meeke praises 2010 Rallye Monte Carlo route

Posted: December 4, 2009 11:01 AM

Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion, Kris Meeke, has praised the changes being planned for the Monte Carlo Rally, which will open the 2010 IRC season from January 19-22.

Meeke, who has driven his Peugeot UK-backed 207 Super 2000 to victory on four rounds of the IRC so far this season, said the decision by the Monte Carlo organisers to run a five-mile selection stage to determine the starting order of the rally, was inspired.

“It’s what rallying needs – a team of organises who are prepared to play around with the format of an event rather than being sterile all of the time,” said Meeke. “The selection stage is a fantastic idea and it’s something that should be done on all rallies.”

Guy Wilks, Meeke’s fellow Briton who has competed in several rounds of this year's IRC for the factory Proton squad, added: “It’s an awesome event and an awesome challenge often in variable weather conditions. It will be great for the IRC and fantastic for the spectators

Ogier ready to defend Monte Carlo crown

Posted: December 4, 2009 10:14 AM

Citroen WRC driver Sebastien Ogier wants to defend his Monte Carlo Rally victory by entering the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge next January.

Ogier delivered victory at the wheel of the BFGoodrich Drivers’ Team Peugeot 207 S2000 with a mature performance on the world's most famous rally back in January. Now he wants to return for the spectacular event when it opens the IRC's 2010 calendar.

“I would have to drive a Peugeot again because of my relationship with the Peugeot family through the Citroen brand,” said the 25-year-old Frenchman. “I would also have to make sure that I am in a car that I can fight to win. If these two things happen then I would love to do the event because it is very important and a very tough challenge for any driver.”

Ogier competes for the Citroen Junior Team on the WRC but has made no secret of his desire to tackle more IRC events. Next year’s Monte Carlo Rally takes place from January 19-23 and includes 14 hours of live television coverage.  

 

MONTE CARLO RALLY OPENS 2010 IRC SEASON

Posted: December 4, 2009 10:13 AM

The Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) and Eurosport Events, promoter of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, have announced that the Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo, will, for the second year running, be the opening event of the 2010 IRC season.

Now that the Monte Carlo Rally is no longer within the World Championship series, its organisers have decided to remain with the IRC for next season.

As Rene Isoart, General Commissioner of the ACM, said, “The Monte Carlo Rally is staying with the IRC because we have found within this series all the necessary ingredients to allow the Rally to return to the fundamental values of the sport.”

Geraldine Filiol, Director General of Eurosport Events announced, “We are very proud to again extend a warm welcome from the IRC to the Monte Carlo Rally and to continue our fruitful collaboration with the ACM. As with the 2009 rally, we are planning wide-ranging coverage of the event with live TV broadcasts of the specials offering viewers a unique coverage of this prestigious event."

There will be several improvements to this 78th edition of the Rally, to enhance the opening leg of the 2010 IRC, which this year will be centred in Valence, capital of the department of Drome, in the Valentinois region (please check the IRC website for further details).

The 78th Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo will benefit from great international media coverage, with live broadcasts on Eurosport, Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Asia-Pacific, reaching nearly 70 countries.

Event Website / Regulations / Details

Posted: December 4, 2009 10:11 AM






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