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GP Week : Issue 3
16 NO sooner has the FIA resolved their backlog of requests from potential world championship rally organisers by embarking on a rotation system calendar for 2009 and 2010 than another candidate list has been opened. The FIA has declared that the 24 world championship candidate events under consideration for world status will be held every two years, under a rotation system. The new list of rallies is for events that are hopeful of inclusion in the parallel IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge). The IRC has opened an ‘IRC Supporter Event’ scheme, in which six events have so far made their bids for inclusion in the future. These events are the Sata Rallye Azores, Targa Florio (Sicily), Safari (Kenya), Halkidikis (North Greece) and Poland, while recently added is the Coeur de France rally. While other ‘supporter’ events are established events in international championship calendars, the French event comes from secondary level French rallying. The IRC has become an annual a 10-round series. Five events have long term contracts with the promoters of the series (Ypres, Valais, Madeira, Sanremo and Asturias), while Monte Carlo has been confirmed for the 2009 series. The other four events for 2009 will be selected later this year. This isn’t all, however. Another brand new series of rallies, catering also for World Rally Cars and GT cars, which are nowadays not widely eligible, has started. This is called the Euro Rally Challenge, with a calendar of six events (two each in Holland, Belgium and Germany). The opening round was held 12-15 March in Holland, and was won by Mark van Eldik’s Subaru Impreza World Rally Car. ERC? This new series has no connection with the FIA’s European Rally Championship other than its initials. Candidate rallies everywhere Desert Raid: The Safari is one of the IRC 'supporter' rallies. THIS weeks Rally Argentina boasts an incredible entry, not the least a record number of Production Car World Rally Championship competitors, but some special names are absent. These are mainly drivers whose prior attention is the FIA Zone South American Codasur championship. Best-known absentee is the reigning Codasur champion, 41-year-old Argentine Roberto Sanchez, from the north of the country. This year he is semi- retired after a long career in rally sport – his final challenge is the Argentina national series, for which the Rally Argentina does not qualify. Reigning Group N Paraguay champion Victor Galeano and Diego Dominquez are both regular Codasur contenders, Dominguez also tackling the national Argentine series, while Cristian Confetti, an Italian living in Buenos Aires, is another Codasur specialist. The Codasur series has eight qualifying rounds, held in seven different countries including two in Paraguay. The Codasur series is becoming far better supported than in previous years, despite two eternal challenges. Crews find huge logistical difficulties travelling from one location to another, which means it is very difficult to enter every event. And the surfaces are often rough which makes it very hard on two wheel drive cars. Codasur is the name of the association of South American countries. In the original days of Rally Argentina, the world championship event itself was known as the Codasur Rally with traditional Monte Carlo Rally style concentration runs from the different countries, before meeting up on Argentine soil. Argentina Absentees