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GP Week : Issue 10
JACQUES Behvar, President of Eurosport events and promoter of the renegade IRC (International Rally Challenge) series believes the IRC has a firm place in the rallying world. “I think we can live together with the World Rally Championship. There is no policy to integrate our events into the WRC, which now rotates its events, but we have several requests from WRC events to run an IRC event in their ‘gap-year’. Maybe we will end up with two to four such events within our calendar.” The IRC offers televised rallying based on an independent rally championship in which World Rally Cars are banned. Speaking before the start of the Rally of Portugal, second round in this year’s IRC series in which no fewer than 17 Super 2000 cars were taking part, he added “this may be only the second full year of the IRC, but we are already getting quite well known. If we can build up the support of the manufacturers the teams and the events, we can be something very important, working alongside WRC, two good championships side by side.” New ideas are arriving all the time: “The IRC has instigated the Supporters Events system, for events which would eventually like to join the IRC. What we offer them now is the chance to promote themselves through the IRC website, so they can be part of the IRC community. “If suddenly we find we have a vacancy in the championship, one of them can be selected. “It is not the same as the WRC’s candidate rally system because these events must already be of sufficient standard to enter the WRC straight away.” IRC’s Eurovision television coverage is going well: “We are currently concentrating on the format of the programme, to create a programme because we want to have live coverage, a project which has not been tried often in rallying, to be sure we can do it, and make sure the audience is there. “We started with making 15-minute programmes, now we are making 26- minute programmes. Now we are able to offer these programmes to television companies everywhere. We are not the only television programme active in rallying, and we are not limited to the classic formats of the world championship programmes. We are pursuing a new trend.” IRC will fill WRC MICHELE Mouton has finished 12th in NZ’s Otago Classic Rally in a Ford Escort RS1800 after a delay with a puncture, and an interruption during the event to display an ex-works Audi Quattro at a superspecial stage! Michele was reunited for this event with Fabrizia Pons, the co-driver with whom she took her four world rally wins earlier in her career. The Classic event was run in conjunction with the New Zealand national championship event in Otago, the world’s most southerly major championship rally. The classic section was won by Subaru WRT test driver Pasi Hagstrom at the wheel of a Porsche 911RS, while the main event was won by Richard Mason in a Subaru Impreza Group N Mouton Downunder WRC news >> 17