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GP Week : Issue 144
For the first time since 2008, Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo is going to feature in the world rally championship calendar. The RAMC tradition has been kept alive in the intervening three years by running the event as a round of the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge), an environment which offered greater regulatory flexibility for the organisers, impressive television coverage and the chance to maintain a momentum in case there was a chance to revert to the WRC. Well, that chance has come around, thanks to new organisational guidelines from the corridors of power of the WRC, but the very nature of this unique event means it cannot carbon-copy other rounds of the championship. Clerk of the Course Christian Tornatore spoke about the background to preparations for the grand return in 2012: “ There are new rules regarding world championship rallies these days. For example, we are now allowed to extend the lengths of rallies. So for the 80th edition of RAMC we will have 433km of stages spread over five days. Immediately the increase in distance presents a problem, because of the restrictions in the allowed number of tyres. And once again it will be necessary to have a special type of tyre for winter conditions (NB: in 2012 these tyres must be fitted to 18 inch rims. In 2008, Pirelli were obliged to supply 16 inch winter tyres) and then there is the matter of the total number of tyres for each crew. “ We have had to have meeting with the FIA because of this problem. I imagine in the future the WRC event will settle with more special stage lengths around 400 or 500km but never numbers like 800 as some people have been talking about. That is too difficult.” By coming from IRC back to the World Championship are there any special ways in which you have to change? CT: Not really, because we try to follow our way and to keep alive the traditional spirit of the Monte Carlo Rally. We have more pressure with the WRC, because it is a World rally, but our aim continues to attract the biggest number of competitors, the biggest number of public as well and we try to maintain the level of the Monte Carlo Rally as usual at the top of the sport. We Monte Carlo is Back