Monte Carlo in line to start season
With the Irish motorsport’s governing body confirming Ireland will not host a round of the World Rally Championship next year, details of a proposed re-vamped calendar for 2011 have been leaked.
According to Autosport magazine it will be a 14-round championship starting with the Monte Carlo Rally and ending with Rally GB. It will include a new event in Abu Dhabi.
However, there remains a question mark over the Monte Carlo Rally which was dropped in 2009 and replaced by Rally Ireland under the old rotational system. It found a new home in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge where it has had the freedom to run to a format more in keeping with its traditions.
Negotiations are believed to be continuing with the Monaco AC in an effort to bring it back into the WRC but if these fail, Rally Norway will be the new opening round followed by Sweden.
Missing, along with Rally Ireland, are long-standing events like New Zealand and the Acropolis Rally.
The calendar, drafted by global promoters North One Sport, will go before the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council meeting in Bahrain next month.
The proposed events are: Monte Carlo (or Norway), Sweden, Mexico, Portugal, Abu Dhabi, Argentina, Italy, Turkey, Finland, Germany, Australia, France, Spain and Rally GB.
Meanwhile, Ian Cochrane in his Mitsubishi Lancer won the Omagh Spring Rally, finishing 12 seconds ahead of Frank Kelly’s Ford Escort with Paul Britton third in his Subaru.
Alastair Fisher, fastest on the first stage, had to retire his Mitsubishi with transmission failure and Enda McNulty, who also led, dropped back to ninth when his Subaru also suffered transmission trouble.