The IRC or Intercontinental Rally Challenge started in March 2007 with the aim of giving young up and coming rally drivers and amateur drivers the chance to compete together in established regional and international rallies.
For manufacturers it gave them the opportunity to participate in an international rally series with much lower costs than WRC.
Eligible cars include Group N, Group A up to 2.0 litre (including S2000, R2 and R3)
The range of cars currently consists of Peugeot 207 S2000, Fiat Abarth Grande Punto S2000, Skoda Fabia S2000, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, VW Polo S2000, Proton Satria Neo S2000, Opel Corsa OPC S2000, Citroen C2 S1600, Subaru Impreza, Peugeot 207 RC Rallye, Citroen R2 Max, Honda Civic Type R R3 and Ford Fiesta ST.
There are two championships within the IRC, one for 4 wheel drive vehicles and one for 2 wheel drive vehicles.
Also a number of FIA seeded drivers compete in the IRC, such as Juho Hanninen, Francois Duval, Giandomenico Basso, Michal Solowow and Jasper Van Den Heuvel.
These drivers are joined by ex WRC stars like Belgian Freddy Loix and Britsh stars Kris Meeke and Guy Wilks.
This year there are 11 rounds and each will be covered by EuroSport the main promoter of the IRC.
The rounds are:
- Monte Carlo Rally - January 21 - 24- Rallye Internacional de Curitiba Brazil - 5 - 7 March- Safari Rally Kenya - 3 - 4 April- Sata Rally Azores - 7 - 9 May- Belgium Ypres Rally - 18 - 20 June- Rally Russia - 9 - 11 July- Rali Vinho Maderia - 30 July - 01 August- Barum Czech Rally Zlin - 21 - 23 August- Rally Principe de Asturias Spain - 10 -12 September- Rally San Remo Italy - 24 - 26 September- RAC MSA Rally of Scotland - 19 - 21 November
Current Standings are
1 Kris Meeke (UK) - 202 Freddy Loix (B) - 183 Nicolas Vouilloz (F) - 144 Jan Kopecky (CZ) - 135 Giandomenico Basso (I) - 10
1 Peugeot 522 Mitsubishi 333 Abarth 144 Skoda 13
Hopefully that will give you a brief insight into the IRC.
I will keep you up to date with our progress in Belgium through the blog over the next few days.