IRC STARS COLLECT THEIR PRIZES … AND ALL THE OTHER LATEST NEWS FROM THE IRC
Peugeot UK’s Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle were amongst the IRC champions who received their awards in the lavish surroundings of the Pavillon Dauphine in Paris, at the IRC prize-giving ceremony last Monday night. The event, which also featured spectacular TV highlights from the year, was attended by drivers, teams, event organisers and media from all over the world.
Receiving his prize after a season of unprecedented success with the Kronos-run Peugeot UK 207 S2000, Meeke commented: "It was almost exactly a year ago when Peugeot UK agreed to fund my IRC campaign for this year. When I look back at how far we’ve come in one year, it’s simply incredible. There are many people who I would like to thank for what has been not only a very successful but also extremely enjoyable year. The competition has been incredibly close, and that’s what matters most in any form of sport."
Peugeot also collected the prize for winning the manufacturers‘ championship for the third year running. Olivier Quesnel, the director of Peugeot Sport, was present to pick up his team’s prize. Peugeot also claimed the honours for the two-wheel drive manufacturers‘ title.
Denis Millet and his co-driver Julien Vial collected the IRC 2WD Cup trophy after an excellent season aboard their Peugeot 207 RC Rallye. Each of the 11 event organisers were also called to the stage to receive an award in recognition of their efforts.
Marcello Lotti, the IRC’s General Manager, concluded: "Once more, it is people who have formed the key strength of our series in 2009. I’d like to thank them all individually for their valuable contributions to this memorable season. We’re now looking forward to an even more successful year in 2010."
The IRC season review is now available to watch online at www.rally-irc.com in the ‚video‘ section.
CIRCUIT OF IRELAND JOINS IRC SUPPORTER EVENTS
The Circuit of Ireland, the world’s second oldest rally, has received Intercontinental Rally Challenge Supporter Event status for 2010.
The IRC Supporter Event scheme allows selected national events to benefit from the prestige of being associated with the IRC, from the strengths of the IRC brand, and to promote themselves internationally through on-demand video highlights available on the IRC website, www.ircseries.com.
Accepting the IRC Supporter Event status at the recent IRC awards ceremony in Paris, Circuit of Ireland Rally Director, Bobby Willis said: "Having this prestigious charter bestowed upon the Circuit of Ireland is the first step in our strategy to re-awake the sleeping sporting giant that is the Circuit of Ireland. On top of that, Circuit of Ireland will be the only rally event to be granted "Supporter Event" in Ireland for 2010."
Present at the ceremony was Irish driver Kris Meeke who was recently crowned 2009 IRC champion. He commented: "The global success and growth of the IRC is testament to the popularity of rallying across the world and I’m delighted that Circuit of Ireland is to become part of this family."
In 2010, the Circuit of Ireland will be staged during its traditional Easter slot with precise details to be released in the near future.
MONTE CARLO TEST FOR SKODA’S KOPECKY
Skoda Motorsport driver Jan Kopecky continued his preparations for the new Intercontinental Rally Challenge season by testing close to a very famous stage.
Kopecky, who finished runner-up to Kris Meeke in the 2009 drivers‘ standings, was sampling Skoda’s latest-specification Fabia Super 2000 at a test site near the legendary Col de Turini stage last week. The stage will be used on the Monte Carlo Rally in January, the opening round of the 2010 IRC.
"The test went well, although the weather was a bit warmer than we had hoped: around four degrees Centigrade with no snow," said Kopecky. "The car feels good, although it’s not so different than before. We just tried one or two things that were maybe slightly better, but no real change. It’s hard to be sure."
Kopecky covered approximately 400 kilometres of running during the test and reported no problems with the works Fabia. He was due to carry out further testing this week.
OGIER TIPPED FOR MONTE CARLO RETURN
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."
COUNTDOWN TO MONTE CARLO: -31 DAYS
In just 31 days‘ time, the Monte Carlo Rally from 18-23 January 2010 promises to be one of the highlights of the 2010 motorsport season, not only from a sporting point of view but also from a television perspective.
This legendary event will benefit from an unprecedented total of 14 hours of live television coverage and entries are already coming in. As part of the IRC, the Monte Carlo Rally is open not only to the top professional teams but also to talented amateur crews – who now have the opportunity to match themselves against the top stars of the sport.
All information including rally guide, itinerary, regulations are available at www.acm.mc.