Andreas Mikkelsen says it wont just be the temperature that will be hot when the Intercontinental Rally Challenge visits Sicily for the famous Targa Florio next month.
The IRC champion says the competition on Targa Florio-Rally Internazionale Di Sicilia will also raise the temperature with multiple winner Paolo Andreucci particularly hard to match.
There will be a lot of fast Italian drivers who will be super, super fast because they know the stages very well so it wont be easy, said Mikkelsen, who will drive a KODA UK Motorsport-run Fabia Super 2000 on the event. For sure I hope to be up there fighting and hopefully I can at least beat the drivers who are not Italian.
IRC rookie Wiegand goes racing
Sepp Wiegand will take a break from his successful Intercontinental Rally Challenge campaign to switch to the race tracks of Austria when he contests the latest round of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup this weekend.
Wiegand, who has scored points on all four rounds of the IRC he has tackled so far for KODA Auto Deutschland, will be in action at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, a 4.326-kilometre former Austrian Grand Prix venue.
As well as a number of series regulars, Olympic medal-winning ski jumpers Sven Hannawald, Andreas Kofler and Thomas Morgenstern will also be taking part in the double-header event.
Paddon to make IRC debut in San Marino
Hayden Paddon will do battle with leading runners from the Intercontinental Rally Challenge for the first time when he contests Rally San Marino next month.
New Zealander Paddon is the reigning Production Car world champion but has yet to contest a round of the IRC during his impressive career. He will make his IRC debut on the gravel event, which is also new to the series for 2012.
The 25-year-old Paddon will switch from the KODA Fabia Super 2000 he uses on world championship rallies to an HRT Motorsport-run Peugeot 207 S2000. Rally San Marino takes place from 6/7 July.
Breen set for Sibiu IRC run
Peugeot 207 Super 2000 driver Craig Breen has revealed plans to contest Sibiu Rally Romania in July, the gravel events first appearance in the all-action Intercontinental Rally Challenge.
Breen had been due to contest the cancelled Canon Mecsek Rallye in Hungary but has instead added the Sibiu Rally to his schedule of events with the French Saintéloc Racing-Mister Auto operation, which currently totals four rounds.
For now its going to be the last event we do but it will be an interesting rally because its new to the IRC so were all going to be starting at the same level, said Irishman Breen.
Exciting format for IRCs debut in Romania
Night stages, a fan-friendly superspecial stage, a stage run entirely on asphalt plus one mixed-surface test will be included on the exciting itinerary for Sibiu Rally Romania, which joins the Intercontinental Rally Challenge for the first time from 20-22 July.
This year is extremely important for the Sibiu Rally, said organiser Sorin Itu. All our work from the previous years has been repaid by being included in the IRC calendar. The Sibiu Rally is now the second biggest sports event in Romania, after the UEFA Europa League final, and we are ready to face the challenge at the highest level.
More Sibiu Rally Romania information, including entry forms, is available by following this link: http://www.raliulsibiului.ro/en/index.php?link=concurenti
Three questions to: Thierry Neuville
Age: 23 Lives: Belgium
Former IRC event winner on watching the Eurosports live coverage from Corsica
As a former winner in Corsica were you able to watch any of the live television coverage?
I watched two stages live on Eurosport. I put my onboard footage from last year next to me and started to play them at the same time the live stages started so I could compare to my performance.
What was it like watching rather than competing?
I was happy because nobody beat my time on the Fangu-Notre Dame de la Serra stage [run this year on day two of the rally] so I still have the record behind Carlos Sainz through that stage,
Did you draw any conclusions from watching the coverage?
We saw the turbo cars were very strong this year and my friend Andreas Mikkelsen was pushing very hard and very fast. Unfortunately he did a little mistake and lost the victory because of this.
In the spotlight: Michelin
Motorsport has always been an integral part of Michelins DNA and the company remains committed to all forms of the sport, on two wheels and four. The Michelin brand returned to top level rallying in 2011 to face the technical and human challenges it craves in order to test the life, safety, energy efficiency and the notion of driving pleasure of its products. Last season it helped Andreas Mikkelsen and KODA to the drivers and manufacturers titles and has already enjoyed considerable success in 2012. Michelin has developed a range of tyres for use in the IRC for a variety of conditions, including dry asphalt, wet asphalt, rain, snow, and damp, smooth and rough gravel. A team of expert engineers, technicians and logistical personnel attend each round.