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GP Week : Issue 144
21 WRC NEWS >> Released last week was the calendar for the 2012 IRC season, listing 13 events (two more than in 2011), four new events, five events in Eastern Europe and a slightly increased degree of gravel. The new events will be in Bulgaria (Sliven), Ireland (Circuit of Ireland). Romania (Sibiu) and San Marino. No events will be held outside Europe. Events now missing are Monte Carlo and Scotland while Azores moves forward to the last weekend in February. The Circuit of Ireland will be held over the event’s traditional Easter holiday. The championship rules, notably how the car classes are to be arranged, will not be announced till the official championship prizegiving in Paris on December 1. Five IRC Rallies in Eastern Europe Ogier Signs for VW ONE week after Citroen stated that Sebastien Ogier had prematurely left their team, Volkswagen Motorsport announced that 27 year-old had signed a three-year agreement with them. They stated that Ogier becomes the “first factory driver of Volkswagen.” No competition programme has been announced, beyond appearing in the Race of Champions (Dusseldorf 2-3 December), in a head-to-head with Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel. Volkswagen have not had a world rally champion since works driver Kenneth Eriksson won the FIA’s one-off Group A world rally title in 1986. Ogier, who was world junior rally champion in 2008 with Citroen, said: “It is a very special day for me. I am very happy to be here today (22 November) to sign my contract with the brand. “I am sure Volkswagen is a very strong manufacturer, soon to be the first in the world, and I am sure they are coming into rallies with the goal to win as soon as possible, which is the same goal that I have for myself. I want to become world champion.” VW have already begun test work with their new Golf R WRC car, but are not due to begin competition with a model bearing the name of the brand VW until the 2013 world championship programme officially starts in 2013. In the meantime, Ogier will most likely contest all the 2012 WRC events – in a Skoda Fabia S2000. It is not known if he will officially contest the SWRC series. The object is to get on-event experience for the team on the rallies likely to be selected for the 2013 WRC Calendar as much as keeping their star driver match-fit. In the meantime, Ogier drove a VW Golf R prototype late last week.