Preview>>2010 Monte Carlo Rally & Irc

The legendary Monte Carlo Rally starts today, with a prologue stage in the French Riviera, en-route to Monte Carlo.

The ‘Monte’ is one of the longest running motorsport events, dating back to 1911, and is normally part of the World Rally Championship. Due to the ridiculous FIA rule that rally venues need to rotate in and out of the World Championship, the premier class this year is the popular Intercontinental Rally Championship.

The 'IRC' started in 2006 with the assistance of Eurosport TV Channel who gives the series extensive Television coverage. Unlike the WRC, the IRC concentrates on cheaper Group A and N and the FIA S2000 class.

Current Champion, Kris Meeke will want to put his crash on last year’s event to the back of everyone’s minds with a win on this rally. One of the favourites, Meeke had a fantastic season in 2009. He's a Brit by the way, just in case you were not sure :)

Last year’s Monte Carlo IRC winner, Sebastien Ogier returns with a sister Peugeot 207 S2000.

The Kronos 'Peugeot UK' team will come under pressure from the factory Skoda Fabia’s of Jan Kopecky and Juho Hanninen. Another S2000 car, which we featured on Speedhunters last year. The team will be releasing an Evolution version of the car later in the season.

Skoda UK have also entered a car for Guy Wilks, who finished off last season with a win in the Rally of Scotland. Meeke and Wilks is going to be an interesting battle for Britain, each with Union Flag based liveries.

Another British entrant, Ford Rally Team, M-Sport will be interesting to watch with their new Ford Fiesta S2000.

This has to be seen as a development year, but with Mikko Hirvonen in the driver’s seat, dont discount this entry.

Rally legend Tommi Makkinen returns to the Monte Carlo Rally, but as a team owner. With a successful Subaru rally preperation business in Finland, the team have entered Bryan Bouffier, who has three Polish Rally Championship titles. However, this car is in the Production Group N class and not S2000.

Stephane Sarrazin will be a familiar name to rally and circuit racing fans. The ex Minardi F1 and current Peugeot Le Mans driver started rallying back in 2004 and included a season in the Subaru World Rally Team. Sarrazin concentrates on Endurance Racing these day, but this tarmac rally could easily see him back on the podium. The Frenchman finished 3rd in 2009

Another driver from circuit racing, having a play on the French Riviera is Robert Kubica. Now a Renault F1 driver, the Polish driver will be running in a Renault Clio R3

This should be an interesting rally. No WRC cars, but last years IRC series was good and competitive and while these cars might not have all the trick features of the full WRC Car, I like this. Reminds me of days gone by.

Full entry list here.

-Andy Blackmore

Images: Intercontinental Rally Challenge, Peugeot, Skoda, M-Sport



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Skoda S2000 is fast.


Focus S2000?


Really looking forward to both IRC and WRC this year. Although the IRC is young they are definitely a profile series with various manufacturers. Until the transition of the WRC to S2000 is finished this seems like the go to series for the manufacturer championship. Good to see some F1 drivers getting in the mix as well, and great that their F1 teams are allowing them to race.

Thanks for the season preview Andy.




nope, Fiesta.


im just waiting for a mini to be entered again....paddy hopkirk...ahh..


That Peugeot Looks HOT!!


Kubica out already btw - blown engine


yep hot peugeot, sweet fiesta


"....With a successful Subaru rally preperation business in Finland..."

- interesting that he would be doing that with Subies not Mitsi's after all his success in the WRC with the Evo.

Sounds like an interesting series.


Great work getting some rallying up here! Kopecky and the Fabia are my favorite to win:) Good to see guy wilks in a Skoda as well.


Also good to Gardemeister back out.


That's right! Production N for the REAL rally company, and S2000 for the corporate hacks that won't sell a production rally car to enthusiasts.

Class of One! Go Subaru!


I was just hoping that SH would start showing some rally footage.

More please? :)


Both S2000 and WRC suck because they don't require a road going version of the car with the same characteristics. I remember the good ol' days when VW were building the extra rare 4x4 Golf Rallye to get homologation. A few years back we had the Skoda Fabia WRC, a 2L 300hp gas powered turbocharged 4x4 rally daemon "based" on 1.9TDI 130cp FWD warm hatch. What's the fun in racing if new technology developed there doesn't trickle down to production cars!?


I used to watch WRC religiously on Speed, but once Speed stopped airing any good racing and Mitsubishi and then Subaru dropped out of the top classes, which get all the media coverage, I just stopped caring. I'm happy to see coverage here though, if you get any good video links, post them up please.


Monte Carlo is one of the classic rallys. It's too bad that it longer kicks off the WRC calender.

I really enjoy watching the IRC series too, it reminds me of the old F2 class. Cars like the Peugeot 306 Maxi and Citroën Xsara kitcar, which although FWD and NA were faster than many WRC's on tarmac!


Keep posting WRC and IRC i've been years trying to find someone who posts them. Thank you


@Karl hit the nail on the head. GREAT rally cars. Don't forget Renault Meganes and Renault Clio Kit cars..Great F2 class cars.


That skoda looks alot like a swift


Jan Kopecký,you are the best!Honzo jed!!!


Can't wait for more rally coverage. The little bit we saw of this class last year was awesome.


I wouldn't also mind a Peugeot making it to the x-games for a little more internal competition.



I fully agree with you, but remember that nobody's going to spend $100,000 for an STi, no matter how fast it is.

Racing rules were designed ( in the past) for US - speedhunters who want a good platform to modify. Ford, Peugeot, Citroen, and other companies I refuse to ever purchase from again, pushed the WRC rules modifications, and then "borrowed" the prodrive engineering.

S2000 isn't a competition between brands at all. It's just a bunch of rolling billboards from a cookie-cutter factory.

The result, is that speedhunters lose out big time.


@matt: true..really dont like where new design of skoda is still in love with rear engined skodas