2009 SEASON REVIEW NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE … AND ALL THE OTHER LATEST NEWS FROM THE IRC
Viewers are now able to see Intercontinental Rally Challenge highlights programme, featuring the best of the action throughout the 2009 season, online at www.rally-irc.com. Simply click on the link in the banner above the main news in order to see the video highlights, which last 26 minutes and contains spectacular footage of all the thrills and spills that have characterised this year’s IRC series.
Using ground-mounted, in-car and helicopter cameras, the IRC is covered from every angle on the highlights programme, showcasing the ground-breaking approach to televising rallying.
The 2009 IRC Yearbook is also available to view online. Once more, you have to simply click on the link in the banner above the main news to see the full yearbook on your computer. The yearbook contains a detailed analysis of all the IRC action from 2009, together with photographs, interviews, reports, features and statistics.
2010 MONTE CARLO RALLY: 26 DAYS TO GO
There is now less than a month to wait for the opening round of the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge: the Monte Carlo Rally, which is the oldest and most prestigious event in the history of the sport. The Monegasque event opens the IRC for the second consecutive year.
The route covers 1669.56 kilometres in total through legendary stages in the Ardeche region and on the Col de Turini. The IRC will pioneer full live production on the rally, and Eurosport’s channels will provide 14 hours of transmission direct from the stages. This ambitious project only adds to the appeal of what is already a legendary event, allowing viewers all over the world to see the action as it happens.
“Monte Carlo is just one of those epic events,” said reigning IRC champion Kris Meeke. “The 2009 event was actually the first time that I had driven on snow, and it really brought it home to me just how important tyre choice is. You need a mixture of luck and judgement. I learnt so much from competing in Monte Carlo this year, so I’m sure we’ll be even stronger in 2010. But I’m equally sure that applies to everyone else too!”
STAR DRIVERS TEST FOR PROTON’S IRC TEAM
Proton continued its preparations for the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge season by putting three leading drivers through their paces during a test in Wales recently.
Finns Anton Alen and Matti Rantanen and Belgian Francois Duval all drove a Proton Satria Neo Super 2000 at the Sweet Lamb test facility in Wales. Chris Mellors, who runs MEM, the factory Proton team, said: “We had three great drivers who gave us some very positive and valuable feedback. From our point of view one of the most encouraging things is that we put the equivalent of a world championship rally distance on the car without having to do any work to it.”
Alen, who is considering Proton as one of his options for next season’s IRC, said: “The car felt very stable and the engine had a really good spread of torque right from the bottom all the way to the top.”
A couple of days after the test, Duval slipped on some ice at home in Belgium and broke two vertebrae in his back. He is expected to recover fully, but will be out of action for at least eight weeks.
WILKS TARGETS SKODA UK DEAL FOR IRC
British driver Guy Wilks has been linked to a programme on the 2010 Intercontinental Rally Challenge with Skoda UK. Wilks won Rally of Scotland in a Skoda Fabia Super 2000 last November and made no secret of his desire to remain with the company for a full campaign next season.
The double British rally champion said: “I would love to be in the car. The Fabia is a proven rally winner with the potential to win the championship and I would dearly love the opportunity to do that. But there’s no contract in place right now.”
A spokesperson for Skoda UK said: “An IRC entry is under consideration. We’d love to be able to do this, but nothing is finalised.”
Wilks has experience of a number of IRC events following a part-programme with the factory Proton team in 2009.
EVANS AIMS FOR IRC AFTER PEUGEOT TEST
Australia could get a regular representative in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge next year after Simon Evans tested a Peugeot 207 Super 2000. Evans, a three-time Australian rally champion, is now trying to secure sufficient sponsorship to tackle the IRC in 2010 following a successful test in central France.
He told the Auto Channel website: “We’re going to have to work very hard to come up with the funding to put a deal together for next year. But after getting a taste of it, I want it even more now and I’m more pumped up than ever to get to the IRC.”
Evans was accompanied by his co-driving wife Sue during the test, which took place over a six-kilometre all-asphalt stage near Clermont-Ferrand. “It was such a great experience the car was by far the best rally car I have ever driven,” said Evans. “It gave me so much confidence to keep pushing harder and harder and I felt really comfortable in it.”
MAGALHAES GETS SET FOR MONTE CARLO DEBUT
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.”