IRC Calendar 2012

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IRC Calendar 2012

Postby RonSkoda » 25 Nov 2011 09:41

Has now been published: http://irc.rallye-info.com/article.asp?sid=11&stid=9824

I guess there will be some incentive to go to the first two rounds on Azores and Canarias (free boat?) but I guess a lot of crews will not start their campaign until Ireland in April.

I love Azores, but that doesn't really match Monte Carlo for a season opener. Overall, not a bad calendar... In my opinion it is a bit too long (12 events max would be better), at least there is a little more gravel and Ireland will be interesting.

If IRC merges with ERC from 2013 that could be an interesting calendar. I see 2012 as a bit of a stop-gap year for IRC waiting for ERC merger and R4T cars. When the ERC merger happens I would like to see a calendar something like this:

Arctic
Ireland
Azores
Canarias
Ypres
Corsica
Bosphurus (Turkey)
Poland
Barum
Sanremo
Cyprus
Valais
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Re: IRC Calendar 2012

Postby ChrisB » 25 Nov 2011 19:35

I am not sure if I am keen on an ERC merger. And maybe I am on different opinion about Arctic Rally. Though I do think a Finnish or Swedish round should be there. Not sure which one, maybe South Swedish as another gravel round? For a snow event instead of Arctic, new to the ERC is the Jänner Rally this year. Now that would be a good start! Though first January weekend was tried in WRC with the success that teams had to prepare for the rally over christmas with previous year’s contracts getting in the way.

For the calendar as is published, I agree with Ron’s sentiments on the 13 rounds. That’s too much. Combined with 5 of them in Eastern Europe. This is almost the WRC mistakes, too many rounds, too many of them meaningless, resulting in single events soon to be forgotten, which in return diminishes the marketing potential for single successes. I mean nothing against Eastern Europe, the Barum Rally I visited and was amazing in atmosphere and local fan support! But I was rather disappointed by Yalta and Hungary in 2011, I could imagine Romania on gravel (and with them sponsoring Delecour in Monte 11) could be interesting.... But honestly, I thought the 11 rounds we had in 2011 was about ideal, the calendar would actually be better if between Yalta, Hungary, Bulgaria two were kicked out to have 11. We have too many no-name events in Eastern Europe for the sake of having non-desirable 13 rounds.

However, that is as far as my rant goes.

Shame Monte is no longer, but starting the series with Acores, wow! Unfortunately 2011 end of season affairs showed that the first half of the season is not too important (the coefficients a brilliant idea, but not to that extend, x1.5 max) and Acores being logistically very expensive, as is Canarias. I mean, if the teams already complain about the non-Euro rounds, my personal idea was to stick with 11 rounds, and, maybe instead of Canarias, do a rally in Morocco! That’s Africa and hardly more expensive than Canarias or than 2 additional rounds! I doubt Morocco would challenge Safari or Bandama, but it’s a fairly small ferry trip from Spain and give sense to the “Intercontinental” tag.

Circuit of Ireland! What a brilliant event! Scotland already forgotten. The Circuit at its traditional Easter date too. Acores, then Circuit of Ireland, then on traditional first May Tour de Corse, what a start to the Island Rally Challenge! San Remo another classic, San Marino as a new event, all great, I like it!

In en ERC merger, not sure, but my calendar would go:
Acores
Circuit of Ireland
Tou de Corse
Ypres
Swedish Midsomer Rally
Barum
San Remo
Cyprus
Valais

That’s just 9, add what you like, maybe indeed an Eastern Euro gravel round. I would add Morocco, if the theme was not ERC. And like Ron, I don’t have Cyprus as last round. I must say, two years in succession as a mixed IRC event, I liked Cyprus much more than I used to like it in WRC, but I still find there are stretches that are very brutal and I for one would avoid at all cost to decide the title on luck, i.e. as in punctures.
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Re: IRC Calendar 2012

Postby rv65 » 26 Nov 2011 19:47

You know, Valais is thinking about joining the WRC so that event could be gone by 2014 reducing the current count to 12. For me, the IRC is already the ERC. Hardly any non European events to make this an intercontinental championship.
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Re: IRC Calendar 2012

Postby Sulland » 28 Nov 2011 17:47

Compared to other sports looking at how well regarded an European Championship is, the European Rally Championship is not a series that most drivers would like to have on their CV walking to a sponsor. It has to be simplified, and made relevant. Today it is not.

Getting on Eurosport by joining forces with IRC and concentrating it to rallies that are run where the majority of potential drivers come from is in my opinion a big step in the right direction !!!
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Re: IRC Calendar 2012

Postby Sulland » 12 Mar 2012 08:55

RonSkoda wrote:Has now been published: http://irc.rallye-info.com/article.asp?sid=11&stid=9824

I guess there will be some incentive to go to the first two rounds on Azores and Canarias (free boat?) but I guess a lot of crews will not start their campaign until Ireland in April.

I love Azores, but that doesn't really match Monte Carlo for a season opener. Overall, not a bad calendar... In my opinion it is a bit too long (12 events max would be better), at least there is a little more gravel and Ireland will be interesting.

If IRC merges with ERC from 2013 that could be an interesting calendar. I see 2012 as a bit of a stop-gap year for IRC waiting for ERC merger and R4T cars. When the ERC merger happens I would like to see a calendar something like this:

Arctic
Ireland
Azores
Canarias
Ypres
Corsica
Bosphurus (Turkey)
Poland
Barum
Sanremo
Cyprus
Valais


Apart from Azores and Canarias, which both are jokes looking at the entry lists. Get in 2 more gravel rallies for them.

Which two ?
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Re: IRC Calendar 2012

Postby ChrisB » 13 Mar 2012 11:45

New Zealand :-)
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Re: IRC Calendar 2012

Postby mof » 14 Mar 2012 04:41

ChrisB wrote:New Zealand :-)
And a quick ride over the ditch and do Australia the next weekend... Minimal logistics...
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Re: IRC Calendar 2012

Postby RonSkoda » 18 Mar 2012 22:32

Sulland wrote:Apart from Azores and Canarias, which both are jokes looking at the entry lists. Get in 2 more gravel rallies for them.


Azores and Canarias should both stay on IRC in my opinion because they are both beautiful, unique events, which is what IRC was about from the start. Instead they should address the problem of poor entries in different ways (anyway it won't be such a problem when Peugeot are back)
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Re: IRC Calendar 2012

Postby ChrisB » 19 Mar 2012 12:51

Debatable points, Ron.

When Peugeot are back…. I have lost trust they will be back. The way they are running things this year, even with the 207 S2000 Evo they wouldn’t run the expensive events. In fact the wide bodied Evo is homologated since first of January and we have not seen it yet. It seems Peugeot couldn’t care less about the IRC title, plus with Quesnel they have a dedicated IRC hater at the helm. Their current financial situation does not promise any change in this soon. And as a side hint I can not avoid musing if Peugeot wants a car called the 208 R5, as Renault is their arch rival. Yet maybe the 208 might change it all. What the IRC desperately needs – right in contrary to what Quesnel always said - is another dedicated manufacturer like Skoda are, never mind if that is Peugeot or someone else.

(In fact, I am surprised David Richards with his Prodrive Mini problems doesn’t come to IRC. It would be far more TV exposure for far less money on many classic events, and even without being an official WRC manufacturer team, in IRC they could register and indeed take a fight to Skoda. The IRC is open to 1600T too this year.)

Canarias a unique event? I agree that the IRC should be made up of unique events. That is the essence of rallying that the WRC has lost and the IRC brought back. Remember, the IRC started with Safari (2007) as their first ever event! For logistics and local political situation I have doubts the Safari will ever be back, but for hardly more transport cost than Acores and Canarias we could be at the Bandama Rally or in Morocco!

Yet for all its uniqueness Acores must stay to my mind. It is Canarias I am repeatedly not so sure about. I am not sure what it is, as I certainly have no problem with the Spanish at all. But even as a lover of asphalt rallies, if it is Catalunya, Asturias or now Canarias, I fail to see the fascination of the stages. The video Ron posted, at 2:50 there comes a big surprise, as all the sudden a Canyon opens up and the following descent is fantastic, but everything else on that stage, to me personally at least, looks surprisingly dull for what Canaries are. It’s not a bad rally, but for what the roads are I somehow fail to see why we have to travel as far as Canarias for this. It’s not a bad rally, but if you want to advertise asphalt events, Ireland, Corsica, San Remo are so much more technical, beautiful and unique. Maybe also because Canarias is an unusual fast event for a rally, but then Madeira is extremely fast and for technical challenge, beauty and uniqueness I would prefer Madeira. I say it for a third time, Canarias is not a bad event, but if I would be asked to drop an asphalt event from the series, looking at all the other beautiful IRC events, maybe except a question mark on the many Eastern events, Canarias would be the one that would have to go.

Well, as I said, debatable. If I was to draw an IRC calendar, I would love to have Safari and NZ in, but that is wishful thinking and unrealistic. The IRC is about Unique events and that means Circuit of Ireland, Corsica (this year starting in Ajaccio, finishing in Bastia, in contrast to last year start Calvi, finish Ajaccio = ace, every year a different, long event!), Ypres, Barum, San Remo, they all are so fantastic. And for sure Acores has to stay, and I would quite like a gravel event in Scandinavia/Nordic countries, like Swedish Midsomer Rally or something in Finland.

For the low entry dilemma, the coefficient scoring system that IRC does for the last round could be a good idea. Maybe, in fact, looking at the champions situation last year, double points for Cyprus is a bit steep, running danger of reducing the value of the early season (if that is not even what we do suffer right now), but maybe this wouldn’t be too bad any more if we had more double (or 1.5) score rounds? I am not saying bring back South America, but if I take that example of travelling to Brazil, then Argentina in past years, do those as double scorers in around March-April, and then a double scorer season final might work?
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Re: IRC Calendar 2012

Postby ChrisB » 19 Mar 2012 13:19

mof wrote:
ChrisB wrote:New Zealand :-)
And a quick ride over the ditch and do Australia the next weekend... Minimal logistics...

MOF, are you Australian? I did it again, saying that Safari and NZ would be my favourites to join IRC. I do like Australian rallies too! And it would actually make sense combining it with NZ. The thing with me is, that I am completely taken by NZ's landscapes with its flowing, hilly stages in green scenery. And curiously South Island even more so than North Island. Even though I know it only from the 70s. Today they don't even visit Motu and Rotorua. Yet the Rally NZ is always a fantastic, unique, picturesque event and yet it could be even so much better, which is a curiosity I can't get out of my head.

Talking IRC, NZ might be very unrealistic, if even Acores and Canarias is a problem. But if we want to do justice to the Intercontinental name, maybe double scorers would be a way, but also there must be ferry deals of some sort, two events combined, to make the trip worthwhile. A combination of green, hilly NZ and red clay Australia would be very unique and fit very well together. Further the IRC likes to look at other FIA series to help towards good entries. We know of clashes with ERC, but i.e. Cyprus is chosen as a season final for the good weather there in November, but also for it being an MERC round. Maybe we could visit two APRC rounds?

Yet there are dangers in these thoughts. If it is just too expensive, and two double score rounds, it may actually scare teams away completely. For the same reason the WRC system to make all rounds compulsory for teams to be eligible for points is an absolute no-go. Even for WRC in fact, this all or nothing approach does not work, I rather have 1 or 2 low key entries during the year than completely losing Skoda and Mitsubishi - which was indeed both their withdrawal reason at the end of 2005, and now Mini to some degree.

I am a bit surprised that the logistic deals don't seem to work for the teams. It didn't help for previous South America turns and now in 2012 it didn't help Bouffier and Magalhaes to enter Canarias and Skoda in turn had different cars in Canarias to those in Acores, meaning they didn't even take the offer.

Lastly, as much as I like NZ (and Australia), at least my Africa idea should be reasonable. Maybe Bandama is a bit extreme, but for the Intercontinental name, and if we can travel for the last round to Cyprus (and Acores and Canarias), indeed why not an event in Morocco? It wouldn't be as typical Africa as Bandama Rain Forest or the typical Safari is, but with the Atlas Mountains it can be unique, and it is Africa, yet it is just a short-ish ferry crossing from Spain!

well, just writing down ideas....
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Re: IRC Calendar 2012

Postby RonSkoda » 19 Mar 2012 14:27

Regarding Peugeot, they are definitely developing the R4T car, they will surely want to do something with it? My fear is next year Peugeot will be there and Skoda will have a year off to develop the Fabia R4T...

Prodrive are alledgedly talking to IRC about registering. I agree that IRC could be more viable for them, now that they are no longer the official Mini WRC team. Less humiliating than turning up at some WRC events with "the prostitute car" too.

Regarding the calendar, first we have to see whether the ERC merger will happen. If so, we can forget about talking about Bandama or APRC events.

I still stand by what I said about Canarias though. It's uniqueness is in the smooth, fast, tarmac with no little or no interpratation as far as cornerering lines go... I believe Kopecky and Mikkelsen last weekend were driving pretty much at the maximum capability of these cars and that is why the times were so close. The skill is in driving at the maximum all weekend without making any mistakes.
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