Skoda Motorsport to send two cars to South America

The factory Skoda Motorsport team will enter its works drivers Juho Hanninen and Jan Kopecky on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge events in Brazil and Argentina in March.
Skoda is planning an expanded programme of IRC appearances this season and its commitment to the South American gravel rallies will help to ensure a strong turnout of European-based crews.
Company spokesperson Karel Pokorny said: "We will run two cars in Brazil and Argentina. Skoda has some experience in Argentina from the World Rally Championship but we have never been to Brazil so that will be something new.
"We saw last year the pace of the Fabia Super 2000 on gravel in the Azores and Russia and we hope this will continue when we go to Brazil and Argentina."
Satellite team Skoda UK Motorsport has also confirmed it will field a Fabia S2000 on the South American leg for British driver Guy Wilks.

Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo, Monaco 18-23 January 2010
Skoda Motorsport will enter South American IRC events

First Subaru Individual Award presented to Burri

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.

Olivier Burri is Subaru’s first Individual Award winner

Meeke will hit back from Monte crash, says van Dalen

Team boss Marc van Dalen has backed his lead driver Kris Meeke to fight back following the crash that put him out of the Monte Carlo Rally last week.
Meeke, the defending Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion, was in second place when he slid off the road on a patch of black ice on the opening stage of the second leg of the event. Although his Peugeot UK 207 S2000 suffered nothing more than a cracked front bumper, the car was stranded down a bank and Meeke and co-driver Paul Nagle were forced to retire.
"It was a mistake and it can happen," said van Dalen, the co-owner of Meeke’s Kronos Racing team. "But I am not going to blame him because we win as a team and we lose as a team and I know he will come back from this, starting in Brazil when I hope we can win again."

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

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."

Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo, Monaco 18-23 January 2010
Mikko Hirvonen gave Pirelli its first IRC victory

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