A star-studded capacity entry will contest Rallye Monte-Carlo, the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, from 18-22 January.
Two former IRC champions, several IRC regulars, previous Monte-Carlo winners, Formula One heroes past and present, plus four world rally title-winners are set to take the start of the event in Valence next month.
Rally organisers, the Automobile Club de Monaco, received 305 requests for the initial 100 available entry spaces and have created a waiting list in case any of the successful applicants are unable to take part.
Among those appearing on the list of entries are 2010 IRC champion Juho Hanninen, former IRC title-winner Nicolas Vouilloz, IRC regulars Jan Kopecky, Freddy Loix, Bruno Magalhaes, Thierry Neuville and Guy Wilks, French rally champion Bryan Bouffier, Le Mans 24 Hours racer Stephane Sarrazin, 1994 Monte-Carlo victor Francois Delecour, Monte-Carlo podium finisher Toni Gardemeister, ex-Scuderia Italia and Footwork Formula One driver Alex Caffi, current Lotus Renault GP Team driver Robert Kubica and rally world champions Andreas Aigner, P-G Andersson, Daniel Elena, and Petter Solberg.
In total 39 Super 2000 cars will be in action while some of the 27 countries represented include Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Slovenia and United Kingdom and United States of America.
A full list of entries is available at www.acm.mc.
IRC fans set for a live television spectacular
Rally fans around the world will be treated to a live television spectacular when the 2011 Intercontinental Rally Challenge gets underway with the centenary edition of Rallye Monte-Carlo next month. Eurosport Events, the IRC’s promoter, will provide large-scale TV production for live coverage of 12 stages combined with regular highlights programmes.
The unique media coverage throughout the world will include extensive live broadcasts on Eurosport’s various platforms: Eurosport, Europe’s largest television sports channel, Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Asia-Pacific will offer a full coverage of the event and will screen a total of 14 hours of television over the three days of the competition including all 12 stages live, plus daily highlights and a rally review programme.
Extensive live transmissions will also be accessible from Eurosport Player, the channels‘ online live simulcast service, while video footage will be available at eurosport.com websites, the official IRC website rally-irc.com and via the IRC iPhone App.
Details of additional coverage shown on other networks throughout the world will be announced soon.
Eurosport’s coverage of Rallye Monte-Carlo will be shown as follows (all times are shown in CET):
Wednesday 19 January
10:00hrs-11:00hrs: LIVE SS1 Le Moulinon-Antraigues (Eurosport 2 & Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
11:30hrs-12:45hrs: LIVE SS2 Burzet-St Martial (Eurosport 2 & Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
14:00hrs-15:00hrs: LIVE SS3 St Bonnet-St Bonnet (Eurosport & Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
16:00hrs-17:15hrs: LIVE SS4 St Bonnet-St Bonnet (Eurosport & Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
19:45hrs-20:15hrs: Highlights of Day One (Eurosport & Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
Thursday 20 January
12:15hrs-14:00hrs: LIVE SS5 St Jean en Royans-Carrefour des 3 routes and LIVE SS6 Cimetiere de Vassieux-Col de Gaudissart (Eurosport 2 & Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
16:00hrs-17:45hrs: LIVE SS7 St Jean en Royans-Carrefour des 3 routes and LIVE SS8 Cimetiere de Vassieux-Col de Gaudissart (Eurosport & Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
19:30hrs-20:00hrs: Highlights of Day Two (Eurosport & Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
Friday 21 January
19:00hrs-20:45hrs: Highlights of SS9 Montauban s/Ouveze-Eygalayes, LIVE SS10 Moulinet-La Bollene-Vesubie and LIVE SS11 Lantosque-Luceram (Eurosport & Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
23:00hrs-01:00hrs: LIVE SS12 Moulinet-La Bollene-Vesubie and LIVE SS13 Lantosque-Luceram (Eurosport & Eurosport Asia-Pacific)
Sunday 23 January
19:45hrs-20:15hrs: Rally Review (Eurosport)
Loix prepares for ‚world’s toughest rally‘
Freddy Loix has begun his bid to win Rallye Monte-Carlo for the first time after completing a test in the south of France last week.
The 40-year-old Belgian ace drove a Skoda Fabia Super 2000 test car as part of his preparations for the opening round of next year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
"It was quite difficult because the weather conditions were changing," said Loix, a six-time IRC event-winner. "We had some ideas of what we wanted to do on dry Tarmac but in the end it rained so we had to change a bit the set-up."
Loix, who is planning to enter an expanded programme of IRC events in 2011, said winning Monte-Carlo would represent a major achievement.
"I was second two years ago and if I could finish one place better I would be the most happy man in the world," said Loix. "Monte-Carlo can be quite an easy rally if it’s dry but when it’s wet or if there is snow then it can be one of the toughest rallies in the world."
Andersson vows to maximise PROTON chance
P-G Andersson has vowed to continue his strong run of form on Rallye Monte-Carlo when he makes his debut for the PROTON team on the centenary edition of the event next month.
The 30-year-old from Sweden will drive a Satria Neo Super 2000 for the Malaysian manufacturer on the opening round of next year’s Intercontinental Rally Challenge, an event he has gone well on in the past.
"It’s great to be joining PROTON for Monte, I can’t wait to get the testing started," said Andersson, who made his IRC debut on Rally d’Italia-Sardegna last June. "It’s been a couple of years since I was on this rally the last time, but I have always made good stage times there and it’s a rally I like. Of course, the conditions can make it tough, but if you have to gamble with the tyre choice then you can always make some big gains."
Andersson finished eighth overall on his last Rallye Monte-Carlo appearance in 2008. Australian Chris Atkinson will appear in a second factory Satria Neo on the event, while Briton Tom Cave will pilot a semi-works version.