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Rally Internacional de Curitiba (Brazil) - 5-7 Mar 09

Posted: March 10, 2009 4:07 PM - 10439 Hits

Round 2 - 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC)

  • Meeke/Nagle win in Brazil

BRC congratulates Sol Rally Barbados 2008 winners on first IRC win in

Posted: March 10, 2009 4:07 PM

Sol Rally Barbados 2008 winners Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle claimed their first win in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in Brazil at the weekend, and officials of the Barbados Rally Club were quick to send congratulations by e-mail and text message. The Ulster crew bounced back from what Meeke had described as the biggest accident of his career on the Monte Carlo Rally in January to dominate the Rally Internacional de Curitiba in the Peugeot 207 S2000 entered by Peugeot UK/Kronos Racing.

Sol RB09 Chairman Barry Gale said: "It is fantastic news for Kris, who is more than capable of repaying the faith that Peugeot has placed in him; but it is also great to see an international competitor who has developed such an interest in our own event doing so well on the world stage and spreading the word. We're in regular contact, and are all doing our best to make sure that he can compete here again."

Gale also had a word for Rally Barbados regular Steve Perez, who won the Malcolm Wilson Rally in the north of England on Saturday in his ex-Marcus Gronholm Ford Focus RS WRC07: "Having retired from Rallye Sunseeker the previous weekend on his first outing with the new car, I reckon Steve will have been delighted with the result. Even so, I know he'll have spared a thought for Paul Bird, who retired for the second time in as many weekends, this time in a major accident. Thankfully, while the damage to his Focus looked major, both he and Ian Windress are OK."

Sol Rally Barbados 2009 (May 29-31) and Shell V-Power King of the Hill (May 23) are organised by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007; title sponsor is the Sol Group, the Caribbean's largest independent oil company, and both events are rounds of the Virgin Atlantic BRC Driver's Championship. Associate sponsors include the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association.


Posted: March 9, 2009 3:07 PM

Peugeot UK driver Kris Meeke has won the all-gravel Curitiba Rally in Brazil, round two of the IRC series. The Irishman claimed all seven stages on the opening day of the rally and then controlled his advantage on the second day to end up with a 26.2 second margin over Peugeot Belgium's Nicolas Vouilloz, who finished second.

Meeke and Vouilloz set exactly the same time on the final stage of the rally, before heading back for the podium ceremony at the Curitiba circuit, which was immediately followed by the qualifying session for the opening round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship. Before the session started, the winning car of Meeke completed a lap of the Curitiba circuit, bringing rallying and racing together in a unique way.

Vouilloz overhauled Abarth driver Giandomenico Basso on the final afternoon, who eventually finished third. The pair had been locked in a tight battle for the runner-up spot throughout the two days of the rally, with Vouilloz initially claiming an advantage before Basso passed him on the final stage of day one. This meant that the duo headed into the last day of the rally separated by just 0.3 seconds. When Basso stalled on the opening stage of the final afternoon, losing about 10 seconds, Vouilloz was able to make his move, which he defended to the end.

Peugeot Belgium's Freddy Loix was fourth, to move into the championship lead by three points. From the beginning, Loix - who finished second in Monte Carlo - said that his objective was to claim the lead of the series in Brazil, so he was not pushing at his hardest. He also had the handicap of running first on the road throughout the opening day of the rally, which cost him a lot of time as he swept up loose gravel. Meeke also had to cope with this handicap during the second day of the rally, but it was not so bad during the afternoon when the morning stages were repeated.

Loix now leads the championship on a total of 13 points, ahead of Kris Meeke, Sebastien Ogier and Giandomenico Basso: who are all tied for second on 10 points. Nicolas Vouilloz is third in the standings with eight points.

In fifth place on the Curitiba Rally was Argentinean driver Alejandro Cancio, who put in an extremely strong performance at the wheel of his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. Cancio was consistently in the top-five stage times, even setting a third-fastest stage time at the end of leg one.

He beat local driver Rafael Tulio, who finished sixth overall and was also the top two-wheel drive runner in his Peugeot 206 S1600. Another Brazilian, Fiat driver Luis Tedesco, was second in the two-wheel drive category. Rounding off the points-scorers in Brazil was local man Marcos Tokarski, in his Peugeot 206.

The stunning Brazilian stages also led to some notable retirements, including Abarth's Anton Alen. The Finn suffered some suspension damage after hitting a rock on SS3 and lost time, but worse was to follow on the second day of the event when he went too quickly into a corner and rolled out of the rally on SS9.

Other key retirements included former Production Car World Rally Championship star Marcos Ligato, who was forced to retire from sixth place on Friday after loose rubber from a front puncture damaged his Mitsubishi's radiator. Saturday saw the retirement of Paraguayan driver Victor Galaeno (Mitsubishi) and the similar car of local hero Osvaldo Scheer.

"It's been an absolutely amazing event for me; quite possibly the best rally that I've ever driven on in my life. We've had a really warm welcome from everybody here in Brazil and we all enjoyed driving on some fantastic stages. When everything comes together in the car, it all feels very natural. The car and the team has been brilliant from the very beginning, and we've had no real problems throughout the rally. Naturally Saturday was a little bit more difficult than Friday as we were running first on the road, but I think we were able to deal with that problem quite well."
-Kris Meeke, Peugeot UK driver

"We had a very exciting battle with Giandomenico on Saturday where we were pushing hard throughout the day. We made a special effort in the afternoon though and luckily it paid off. He was very quick and so was Kris, so I'm sure it's going to be a very close season. I've really enjoyed driving on this rally and it's a relief to bring home a good result after retiring in Monte Carlo, so I think this gives us a solid base now for the rest of the year."
-Nicolas Vouilloz, Peugeot Belgium driver

"I really liked this rally although of course I feel slightly disappointed that we were third rather than second. I had hoped for a little bit more but in the end it was very close, also because we made a mistake and stalled the engine on Saturday afternoon. However, it'salways good to be on the podium, particularly on a rally that is as challenging as this one. I've really enjoyed myself, and I'd like to thank the Brazilian rally fans for making us so welcome. I'm definitely looking forward to coming back here again."
-Giandomenico Basso, Abarth driver

Peugeot UK and Kris Meeke win the Rally Internacional de Curitiba, Brazil

Posted: March 9, 2009 2:19 PM

Peugeot UK and Kris Meeke continued their winning ways in Brazil and won the second round of the 2009 IRC - Rally Internacional de Curitiba.

Starting first on the road was always going to be difficult as Kris swept the stages for the following cars.

The first stage (SS8) saw Kris drop 11 seconds to the fast charging Giandomenico Basso in the Abarth Fiat Grande Punto S2000. The choice of harder tyres against the softer tyres on the Fiat, and the disadvantage of being first on the road was clearly setting up a thrilling final day.

The next stage (SS9) saw Kris drop only 5 seconds to Basso; however, a further 11 seconds were lost on stage (SS10), so Kris's lead was reduced 22.7 seconds.

Kris fought back on stage (SS11) when he took 12.6 seconds off Basso to increase his lead back up to 35 seconds. He also set the fastest stage time on SS11 to take his tally for the rally to eight fastest times. Kronos team mate Nicolas Vouilloz also moved into second position ahead of Basso by setting the second fastest time, as Basso spun on the stage.

Stage (SS12) saw Basso fight back taking 4 seconds off Kris, but losing 3 seconds to Vouilloz.

The final stage (SS13) saw Kris finish the rally in true style setting joint fastest time with his team mate Nicolas Vouilloz. Basso dropped 16 seconds and finished the rally in third place after a fantastic fight with Kris and later Nicolas.

Kris's winning margin was 26.2 seconds over team mate Nicolas Vouilloz, who like Kris has bounced back from a disappointing Monte Carlo rally. Giandomenico Basso was third, 47.9 seconds behind the rally winner.

It has been a very successful rally for Peugeot UK, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle, who on their way to winning this year's Rally Internacional de Curitiba set 9 fastest times out of 13 stages and secured Peugeot's second 2009 IRC win.

Photos / News

Posted: March 9, 2009 1:09 PM


Posted: March 9, 2009 11:45 AM

1 Meeke/Nagle (Peugeot 207 S2000) 2h08m05.7s
2 Vouilloz/Klinger (Peugeot 207 S2000) +26.2s
3 Basso/Dotta (Abarth Grande Punto S2000)    +47.9s
4 Loix/Smeets (Peugeot 207 S2000)    +2m32.1s
5 Cancio/Garcia (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)    +5m20.0s
6 Tulio/Valandro (Peugeot 206 S1600)  +19m04.0s
7 Tedesco/Furtado (Fiat Palio 1800)    +20m53.0s
8 Tokarski/Gavieta  (Peugeot 206 S1600)    +21m48.8s
9 Valandro/Valandro  (Volkswagen Golf)    +32m24.7s
10 Fonseca/Cortes  (Peugeot 206 S1600)    +42m16.3s

Two-wheel drive winner: Rafael Tulio (Peugeot 206 S1600)

Kris Meeke - Shakedown Video Clips

Posted: March 5, 2009 6:30 PM

TV Times

Posted: March 4, 2009 4:10 PM

Friday 6 March
- 00h00 => 00h30     Highlights of Day 1 (Eurosport)
- 00h30 => 01h00     Highlights of Day 1 (Eurosport 2)
- 02h30 => 03h00     Highlights of Day 1 (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

  Saturday 7 March
- 10h05 => 10h35     Highlights of Day 2 (Eurosport 2)
- 00h00 => 00h30     Highlights of Day 2 (Eurosport)
- 02h00 => 02h30     Highlights of Day 2 (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)

  Sunday 8 March
- 04h45 => 05h15     Highlights of Day 1 (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
- 05h15 => 05h45     Highlights of Day 2 (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
- 08h00 => 08h30     Highlights of Day 2 (Eurosport 2)
- 08h30 => 09h00     Highlights of Day 2 (Eurosport)
- 16h00 => 16h30     Highlights of Day 2 (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)  

Tuesday 10 March
- 23h30 => 24h00      RallyHighlights (Eurosport)
Wednesday 11 March
- 08h30 => 09h00      RallyHighlights (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
- 17h45 => 18h15      RallyHighlights (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
- 18h30 => 19h00      RallyHighlights (Eurosport 2)  

Thursday 12 March
- 17h00 => 17h30      RallyHighlights (Eurosport 2)  

Monday 16 March
- 21h00 => 21h30      RallyHighlights (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
Thursday 19 March
- 03h30 => 04h00      RallyHighlights (Eurosport Asia-Pacific)


Posted: March 4, 2009 4:09 PM

The Intercontinental Rally Challenge will embrace a new concept with the Rally Internacional de Curitiba, which gets underway in Brazil on Friday. This event will be held at the same venue as the opening round of the FIA World Touring Car Championship - which is also promoted by Eurosport Events.

The rally runs around the city of Curitiba, to the south of Rio de Janeiro, with the service park based in the Curitiba International circuit, alongside the FIA World Touring Car Championship paddock. The special stages get underway on Friday morning and finish on Saturday lunchtime, just before qualifying for the World Touring Car races. With this innovative timetable, rallying and racing has come together in a way that has not yet been seen before. A number of activities are scheduled to take place before the rally that will see the racing drivers get close to their rallying counterparts and vice versa.

For the majority of the regular drivers, the Rally Internacional de Curitiba will also be a brand new event, marking the IRC’s first gravel round of the season and the first time that the series has visited South America. The roads contain a wide mixture of fast and flowing gravel stages, which will allow every crew to exploit the capabilities of their cars to the maximum. However, there are a number of traps to catch out the unwary, giving the local drivers a distinct advantage in terms of experience.

The weather in Brazil is another factor that is sure to play a part. At this time of year, weather conditions around Curitiba are expected to be uncertain, and rain has been forecast along with warm temperatures. This makes tyre choice a vital element of success, and with no previously established data to go on, crews will have to rely on both accurate information and a little bit of luck.

The first stage of the Curitiba Rally gets underway at 09:00 on Friday 6 March, after the cars leave parc ferme at the Curitiba circuit, located just outside the city centre. The competitors will contest seven stages on the opening day, with the last of those stages starting at 15:15. Day two, Saturday 7 March, will see the crews start off again at 09:00 to take in six more stages, including the most challenging stage of the rally - the 28 kilometres of Bocaiuva - which is run twice as SS8 and SS11. The final stage of the rally begins at 14:45, concluding the 234 competitive kilometres after a total of 13 tough special stages. The finish then takes place at the Curitiba circuit, just before the FIA World Touring Car qualifying session starts. For more information about the event, please visit the rally’s official website: www.rallydecuritiba.com.br.

The Rally Internacional de Curitiba will see five of the IRC’s regular stars battle it out against a strong contingent of local drivers, who know the terrain well and are strongly poised to spring a surprise. A total of 35 cars are scheduled to take the start.

The first car off the ramp is the Peugeot UK 207 S2000 of up-and-coming British star Kris Meeke. After setting a fastest stage time on the opening round of this year’s IRC series in Monte Carlo, Meeke proved himself to be capable of fighting for the podium until his impressive progress was halted by a big accident. Consequently, Meeke will have a new Peugeot prepared for him by Kronos Racing - which is actually the same car that Sebastien Ogier used to win the Monte Carlo Rally in January and Juho Hanninen used to triumph in Russia last year.

Two more Peugeots will be entered by Peugeot Belgium on the Curitiba Rally, for reigning IRC Champion Nicolas Vouilloz and last year’s runner-up, Freddy Loix. With Vouilloz failing to score in Monte Carlo following an off-road excursion, the Frenchman will be out to redress the balance in Brazil. Loix, who finished second in Monte Carlo, has stated by contrast that he will not be going all-out to take a win at any cost, as he can afford a certain safety margin.

The Abarth factory team will be represented by Giandomenico Basso and Anton Alen, both driving the Grande Punto S2000 The event is brand new to both drivers but 30 years ago Markku Alen - Anton’s famous father - contested and won the very first Rally do Brasil, in 1979 with a Fiat 131 Mirafiori. That event marked the last time that Fiat entered a rally in Brazil as a factory team, so some history will be recreated in Curitiba this weekend and both Abarth drivers are looking forward to the challenge, in order to reclaim the initiative in the manufacturers’ championship.

The regular IRC drivers will also face strong competition from some of the local crews in Mitsubishi Lancers. Oswaldo Scheer is set to be the top Brazilian, starting as car number 10 in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, but a star attraction is sure to be Argentinean driver Marcos Ligato, who was for many years a frontrunner in the Production Car World Rally Championship. Ligato will give the new Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10 its IRC debut in Brazil, and the experienced Argentine is sure to be a top contender throughout both full days of action.

In the IRC 2WD Cup category, Peugeot currently trails Fiat by two points following the Monte Carlo Rally, but the French manufacturer has a chance to make up lost ground thanks to a strong entry in Brazil. Roberto Theodoro will drive a 1600cc-engined 206 for the Metsistem Rallye Team, Fabiano Botelho will pilot a similar car under the Senior Sistemas/Corpflex banner, while Luciano Fleck has been entered in another 1600cc 206, run by his own Fleck Motorsports team.

Fiat is represented in the IRC 2WD Cup by the Palios of Luis Tedesco and Marcelo Franco, while additional entries from Volkswagen and Honda mean that nearly all the IRC-registered manufacturers will be present in Brazil.

For the complete entry list, please visit the IRC website, www.rally-irc.com, or the Curitiba Rally website, www.rallydecuritiba.com.br.

“This kind of rally suits my driving style because the stages are quite fast with some crests and that’s what I like. I can see the rally being a bit like a sprint because the stages are quite short. But my target will be to take it steady. There are five Super 2000 cars competing and it’s important to be in one of the top places at the finish. I want to show that I can be quick but my last gravel event was in Russia last July where I finished fourth. Because I have not driven on gravel for a very long time it will take me some time to find a good rhythm and it’s important not to take too many risks.” Freddy Loix, Peugeot Belgium driver.

“I’m looking forward to Brazil now. What happened in Monte Carlo, when I went off the road, was just down to my inexperience of these conditions. Brazil is going to be a level playing field and I’m sure we can get back on track there I’m very excited by both this rally and the whole IRC in general. It really hands drivers such as me a fantastic opportunity, and I’m absolutely delighted to be here. Nobody has any particular advantage in terms of experience here, so I think that will help me.”
Kris Meeke, Peugeot UK driver

“There’s a little bit of family history here as my dad won the rally back in 1979: before I was even born! But as for me, I’m not really so sure what to expect. I hear though that it is a very nice gravel rally with some quite quick places, so hopefully it should suit us well. We’ve done some testing in Italy and I think the car is in good shape, so I’m aiming for a good result here. We had a bit of a disappointing start to the season in Monaco, so we need to make up for it.”
Anton Alen, Abarth driver.


Posted: March 2, 2009 3:15 PM

Peugeot could move to the top of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge 2WD Manufacturers’ standings following next week’s Rally de Curitiba.

It trails Fiat by two points in the category following the Monte Carlo Rally in January. But with Peugeot the only car maker contesting the 2WD division in Brazil in the absence of current rivals Fiat and Volkswagen, the French company is set to gain an important advantage.

Roberto Theodoro will drive a 1600cc-engined 206 for the Metsistem Rallye Team, Fabiano Botelho will pilot a similar car under the Senior Sistemas/Corpflex banner, while Luciano Fleck has been entered in another 1600cc 206, run by his own Fleck Motorsports concern.

The 2WD Cup was introduced last season. Marco Cavigioli won the inaugural title for Fiat in a diesel-powered Punto. Fiat driver Manuel Villa, from Italy, leads the drivers’ standings after the opening round from Frenchman Guy Mottard (Peugeot) and Briton Nick West (Volkswagen). None of the four are competing in Brazil.


Posted: March 2, 2009 3:14 PM

The seven-year run of victories by Brazilian drivers on the Rally de Curitiba could come to an end when the event hosts the Intercontinental Rally Challenge for the first time next week.

Local hero Tino Vianna started the sequence in 2002 following a 10-year period of success for overseas pilots, including Argentines, Paraguayans and Uruguayans. But with the addition of 16 non-Brazilian drivers to the 36-car entry, it is possible that a foreign competitor could be victorious this year.

Aside from Europe-based IRC regulars like Abarth Grande Punto drivers Anton Alen and Giandomenico Basso, plus the Peugeot 207-mounted Kronos Racing trio of Freddy Loix, Kris Meeke and Nicolas Vouilloz, several South American runners are expected to challenge for victory.

They include Argentines Marcos Ligato and his Tango Rally Team team-mate Alejandro Cancio and Paraguayan ace Victor Galeano Tomboly, who was a participant in the inaugural Pirelli Star Driver Europe Shoot-Out in Austria last October.

But Kris Meeke, one of the likely frontrunners, has played down his chances. The British driver said: “I’ve never rallied in this part of the world before and there will be lots of other drivers who I know are capable of going very well.”

Oswaldo Scheer will carry Brazilian hopes at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer E9.

Entry List

Posted: February 23, 2009 3:31 PM

Top 10:
1 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle
2 Nicolas Vouilloz/Nicolas Klinger
3 Freddy Loix/Isidoor Smets
4 Giandomenico Basso/Mitia Dotta
5 Anton Alen/Timo Alanne
7 Sebastian Abramian/Fernando Mussano
8 Marcos Ligato/Ruben Garcia
9 Alejandro Raul Rauly/Javier Sebastian Chaca
10 Oswaldo Scheer/Gilson Rocha

Full Entry list on:


Posted: February 21, 2009 4:32 PM

Crews competing on the Rally de Curitiba in Brazil on March 5-7 have been given a sneak preview of the stages that will make up the second round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

They have each been sent a DVD of on-board footage filmed from a car driving through the seven different venues.

Freddy Loix, who is second in the IRC standings following the first event of the season, January's Monte Carlo Rally, said: "It looks like it's going to be a nice rally. The stages are quite quick and from looking at the DVD there will be lots of crests."

Meanwhile, Kris Meeke, the British ace who will compete at the wheel of a Peugeot UK-backed 207 Super 2000, likened the roads to Italy's round of the World Rally Championship. "They're a bit like the roads in Sardinia, quite smooth and fast," he said.

Among the most demanding stages is the Bocaiuva test, which is 28 kilometres in length and features 400 curves on undulating roads. It is scheduled for the second day of the two-day rally.

The Rally de Curitiba will be made up of 13 special stages totalling more than 220 kilometres. The event is due to finish at the Autodromo Internacional de Curitiba, the city's racing circuit, on Saturday March 7, one hour before the start of qualifying for the World Touring Car Championship round the following day.


Posted: February 21, 2009 4:31 PM

Freddy Loix has admitted he won't drive flat-out to win the Rally de Curitiba in Brazil nextmonth.

The 38-year-old Peugeot 207 Super 2000 pilot finished second on the Monte Carlo Rally last month and could move to the top of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge drivers' standings with a strong result in South America.

However, he has vowed to be cautious in order to ensure he reaches the finish of the event, which will appear on the IRC schedule for the first time this year.

"This kind of rally suits my driving style because the stages are quite fast with some crests and that's what I like," Loix said. "I can see the rally being a bit like a sprint because the stages are quite short. But my target will be to take it steady. There are six Super 2000 cars competing and it's important to be in one of the top places at the finish."

Loix said he will also be taking into account the fact he hasn't contested a gravel event for eight months.

"I want to show that I can be quick but my last gravel event was in Russia last July where I finished fourth," the Belgian said. "Because I have not driven on gravel for a very long time it will take me some time to find a good rhythm and it's important not to take too many risks."


Posted: February 21, 2009 4:30 PM

Mitsubishi's chances of claiming a strong haul of manufacturers' points on the Rally de Curitiba have improved after rapid Argentine Marcos Ligato entered the Intercontinental Rally Challenge qualifier next month.

The Japanese make is fourth in the standings after the Monte Carlo Rally but could move up to third in the table at the expense of the factory Skoda squad, which is missing the trip to South America.

Ligato, who was a regular in the Production Car World Rally Championship for ten seasons, won the event, when it was named the Graciosa Rally, in 2000. He will compete again this year albeit at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Lancer E10, the Japanese firm's latest generation rally car.

"Marcos has a good chance of challenging the IRC regulars," the event organisers said. "He has the experience of competing all over the world and he is familiar with this rally."

The 31-year-old will team-up with regular navigator Ruben Garcia, who has partnered him for most of his professional career, including the 2001 Safari Rally, when they placed seventh overall. The Safari Rally is the next event on the IRC schedule after Rally de Curitiba.

Mitsubishi will also be represented by Brazilian championship runner-up, Oswald Scheer, who will be competing in a Mitsubishi Lancer E9 alongside co-driver Gilson Rocha.


Posted: February 21, 2009 4:29 PM

Jan Kopecky has tipped defending Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion, Nicolas Vouilloz, to win the next round of the series in Brazil on March 5-7.

Czech Republic star Kopecky will skip the Rally de Curitiba because it's not part of his Skoda team's six-event schedule. But he reckons Vouilloz, who failed to score on the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally last month when he broke his Peugeot 207's suspension sliding into a ditch, will bounce back from that disappointment and claim all ten drivers' championship points in South America.

"He will be trying to do his best after Monte Carlo and I believe he will win this rally," said the 27-year-old Kopecky. "This guy is really amazing, very nice but also very, very fast."

Kopecky competed against Vouilloz on four rounds of the IRC in 2008 and beat him to third place on the Rally of Portugal last May.

"Not only is Nicolas a very good driver," Kopecky continued, "but he doesn't make so many mistakes. Monte Carlo was the first rally where I had seen him go off. He's very professional and will come back."

Vouilloz, who turned 33 earlier this month, will drive one of three Peugeot 207 Super 2000s prepared by the Belgian Kronos Racing squad in Brazil. He will be co-driven by fellow Frenchman Nicolas Klinger.

Peugeot UK and Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle head for Brazil for the next round of the IRC

Posted: February 21, 2009 4:23 PM

Peugeot UK and Kris Meeke will contest the next round of the IRC in Curitiba Brazil between 5-7th March.

The last rally in Monte Carlo clearly showed the Peugeot UK driver Kris Meeke will be a force to be reckoned with in this year's IRC challenge. Setting the fastest time on his first stage on snow and holding second place before a puncture dropped him down the leader board, are all good indications of the speed of the team and their Kronos prepared Peugeot 207 S2000.

The unfortunate crash on the final day of the Monte Carlo rally, however, left the car badly damaged and Kronos have not had enough time to repair the car before it had to be shipped to Brazil. Therefore, Kris will be driving the Kronos prepared rally winning car that was driven by Sebastian Ogier instead. A new car will be built for Kris for the Belgium rally.

"It is no problem for Kris to drive the Ogier car because all the Kronos prepared cars are the same specification, so it will be easy for him to change cars," said Kronos Racing Team Principal Marc van Dalen. "It may even provide him with some good luck because it is not only the car Ogier used to win Monte Carlo but it is also the same car Juho Hanninen used to win Rally Russia."

The Rally de Curitiba will be contested over 234.65 kilometres of gravel stages, including a 23 kilometre special stage, with the finishing ceremony taking place in the city's racing circuit the Autódromo Internacional de Curitiba. It will be a real motor-sport packed time for the residents of Curitiba as, on the following day after the rally finishes, the circuit hosts a round of the World Touring Car Championship, jointly organised by the IRC promoters Eurosport Events.

Kris has already started his preparation for Brazil with a three day test with Peugeot Sport in France providing valuable time in the car on gravel stages and working with Peugeot Sport engineers to understand further the Peugeot 207 S2000.


Posted: February 12, 2009 7:42 PM

The Peugeot 207 Super 2000 used to win the Monte Carlo Rally last month will be in action on Rally de Curitiba in Brazil in March, even though Sebastien Ogier, the event winner, won't be in action in South America.

Kronos Racing, the team responsible for overseeing the young Frenchman's stunning victory on the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in January, shipped the car to Brazil earlier this week where Peugeot UK's Kris Meeke will drive it.

Meeke's original car suffered irreparable chassis damage in the roll that put the 29-year-old out of the event. With insufficient time to build a replacement, Meeke will transfer to Kronos-run BFGoodrich Drivers' Team machine for the rallies in Brazil and the Azores, which aren't part of the tyre firm's schedule of rallies.

"It is no problem for Kris because all our cars are the same specification so it will be easy for him to change cars," said Kronos Racing team principal Marc van Dalen. "It may even provide him with some good luck because it is not only the car Ogier used in Monte Carlo but it is also the same car Juho Hanninen used to win Rally Russia last season."

In addition to a car for Meeke, Kronos will field additional entries in Brazil for Belgium's Freddy Loix and defending IRC drivers' champion Nicolas Vouilloz, from France.


Posted: February 6, 2009 12:34 PM

Crews contesting the Curitiba International Rally next month are being told to expect plenty of high-speed action. The event marks Brazil's first appearance on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge calendar and will form the second round of the series from March 5-7. Run as the Graciosa Rally for the last 29 years, the event has adopted a new title this season to reflect its rise in status after it was included on the IRC schedule for 2009. "The drivers coming to Brazil will experience a very traditional rally but with different characteristics," said Marcos Marcola, the promoter of the Curitiba-based rally. "The stages will be very fast and will demand a lot from the drivers."

Marcola visited the IRC-opening Monte Carlo Rally last month. He said the trip was extremely worthwhile. "The organisation was impeccable," Marcola said. "It was a good experience and I am sure we will have a rally worthy of the worldwide status the IRC demands. The cars in the IRC are spectacular and our public will see some very impressive performances."

The event will include a ceremonial start in the centre of Curitiba on Thursday March 5 and will consist of a total competitive distance of 234.65 kilometres.

More Details:


Posted: February 2, 2009 4:44 PM

Despite Kris Meeke's Kronos Racing-run Peugeot being badly damaged in a crash that ended his Monte Carlo Rally prematurely on the final day, the Peugeot UK driver has said that his participation on the next round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, the Rally Internacional de Curitiba in Brazil, is not in any doubt.

"The decision has not been taken as to whether my car can be fixed but we've got some contingency plans in place to use another car if we need to," Meeke said. "But there won't be a problem."

The Irishman described the crash that forced him to retire from the Monte Carlo Rally last week as the biggest accident of his career. Meeke was in fourth position on the final leg of the event when he left the road in his Peugeot UK-backed 207 after it skidded on melting snow. The car then struck a bridge support and rolled five times. Thanks to the advanced safety systems built into the car, the crew escaped without injury.

"I'm looking forward to Brazil now," he added. "What happened in Monte Carlo was just down to my inexperience of these conditions. Brazil is going to be a level playing field and I'm sure we can get back on track there."

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Posted: January 27, 2009 1:04 PM

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