Preparations for the centenary edition of Rallye Monte-Carlo are progressing apace with fewer than 50 days to go before the Intercontinental Rally Challenge opener gets underway on January 18, 2011.
Last week representatives of Eurosport Events, the promoter of the IRC, and rally organiser Automobile Club de Monaco, undertook a reconnaissance of part of the competitive route that will form the first round of the 2011 IRC season.
During the visit they checked the various technical facilities required for the event’s extensive live television coverage, confirmed the camera locations, and also finalised some of the festivities and activities that will take place around the rally to mark the 100th anniversary celebrations.
Jean-Pierre Nicolas, the IRC’s Motorsport Development Manager, said: "It was a very successful exercise in close collaboration with the ACM. We visited several locations including Valence, where the rally starts, plus some of the stages including Entraigues and Col de Gaudissart, and I am pleased to confirm that all preparations for the rally are on target."
Delecour closing on Monte-Carlo comeback
Rallying legend Francois Delecour, who won Rallye Monte-Carlo in 1994, is close to finalising an agreement to contest the opening round of next season’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Frenchman Delecour, 48, is set to drive a Peugeot 207 Super 2000 on the centenary edition of the asphalt rally alongside co-driver Dominic Savignoni.
"When I saw the itinerary and remembered the rally was 100 years old I realised I had to do the event," said Delecour. "We still need to find some of the budget and a lot of the budget will be for the tyres because I need the complete choice to give myself the best chance that I can.
"I still have a big motivation to succeed, I’m completely fit and I know stages such as Le Moulinon and Burzet better than anybody else on the rally."
McCormack looks to the IRC for next step
Martin McCormack wants to follow in the footsteps of countryman and former champion Kris Meeke by contesting the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Northern Irishman McCormack made his IRC debut on June’s Geko Ypres Rally and is trying to secure a programme to contest up to six events next season.
He said: "Kris is most definitely an inspiration, especially when you look at what he did in the IRC and how it helped his career. There’s a lot of manufacturer interest in the series and that means there are more options for young drivers like me.
"It’s still in the planning stages and nothing is confirmed at the moment. A Super 2000 car would be the main aim but the IRC 2WD Cup is another option I would definitely pursue."
Wittmann wants more IRC action in 2011
Franz Wittmann wants to put his frustrating 2010 season behind him by returning to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge next year.
The 27-year-old Austrian showed plenty of pace this season but was frequently out of luck at the wheel of his Interwetten Racing Peugeot 207 Super 2000.
"I’m working on a programme and for sure it will be in the IRC," said Wittmann. "I am very grateful for all the support Interwetten gave to me but my results this year were very disappointing. I know things can improve and I hope to get the opportunity to come back and show what I can do in what is a very competitive championship. I’m keeping positive and won’t give up."
Wittmann was co-driven for the bulk of the season by German Klaus Wicha but was partnered on the season-closing Cyprus Rally by Josefine Beinke when Wicha became unavailable. His best result in the IRC date is fifth place on Rally Russia in 2009.