From IRC media [ 23/07/2008 ].
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The Madeira Rally, which is the next round of the IRC from August 1-2, will have a total of 66 entries consisting of the top IRC stars as well as many strong local challengers.
Last year’s winner Giandomenico Basso (Abarth, pictured) will be the first car off the ramp, on a rally that will welcome back many familiar faces. Amongst the drivers returning to the IRC are Corrado Fontana and Luca Betti, (both in a Peugeot 207 S2000) while former European Champion Renato Travaglia is also back in his Abarth Grande Punto.
However one of the biggest draws will be joint IRC series leader Luca Rossetti, who is currently tied with Nicolas Vouilloz at the head of the standings on 26 points. For Rossetti, who drives for Peugeot Italy, Madeira represents a golden opportunity to come back and reclaim the initiative at the head of the points table.
However, the Italian’s task is far from easy, as he will be challenged by several local drivers who have shown themselves to be capable of fighting for podiums in the past. Bruno Magalhaes (Peugeot), who finished second in Madeira last year, is a definite contender for victory, as is Abarth driver Jose Fontes.
The rally gets underway with a superspecial stage on Thursday 31 July in Madeira's capital, Funchal. The competitors will then go on to tackle another 12 stages on Friday 1 August, before the event concludes with eight more stages on Saturday 2 August: making a total of 21 special stages. This year's Madeira Rally also features a new service park at Horarios do Funchal.