This years Intercontinental Rally Challenge is set for a thrilling climax with four events of the all-action series remaining including Rally Sliven, an exciting addition to the IRC schedule for 2012.
Following this weeks Prime Yalta Rally in Ukraine, where crews are currently completing their final preparations prior to the competitive action getting underway this Friday (14 September), the IRC will make its first visit to Bulgaria from 28-30 September.
Rally Sliven represents an intriguing prospect for IRC regulars and newcomers alike. New to the series for this season, the event is a mainstay of the Bulgarian national championship and part of the FIA European Rally Cups. It features technical asphalt stages in the mountains around Sliven, Bulgarias eighth largest city, with altitudes ranging from 250 metres to 1100 metres above sea level. Some runs feature an altitude variation of 600 metres. Two legendary downhill tests, Bulgarka and Stara Reka, are back on the itinerary for the first time in 20 years, while the popular Sliven superspecial stage, based in a park in the city, will attract thousands of spectators.
Fans from throughout Bulgaria will gather around the stages and create a great atmosphere for the competitors, who will quickly find out how challenging the stages are, said Atanas Chanev, the Deputy Clerk of the Course. There are uphill sections followed by steep and technical downhill parts. Every stage has its specific grip and even on some stages the amount of grip changes in almost every corner. Rally Sliven will be the most interesting motorsport event in Bulgaria this year and a lot of people will come and be part of our debut in the IRC.
Entries close on Thursday 20 September and more details are available at www.rallysliven.com.
Rally Sliven: key features
*Ceremonial start in Sliven on Friday 28 September
*Superspecial stage in host city, one of 13 asphalt runs over competitive distance of 197.32 kilometres
*Technical stages based in the mountains above Sliven, 300 kilometres from Bulgarias capital, Sofia
*Finishing podium at 14:30hrs local time on Sunday 30 September
*Day-by-day highlights and Inside IRC magazine programme on Eurosport
Rally Sliven is round 11 of the 13-event IRC season. The series concludes with Rallye Sanremo in Italy from 12-13 October and the Cyprus Rally based in Pafos from 2-3 November.