Michel Boeri, the President of the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM), and Jacques Behar – the President of Intercontinental Rally Challenge promoter Eurosport Events – announced today at the ACM headquarters in Monaco that the Monte Carlo Rally will form part of the IRC in 2009.
The 77th Monte Carlo Rally will open the IRC series in January next year, at the start of a season that will take in between 10 and 12 rallies over three different continents.

René Isoart, the Clerk of the Course for the ACM, commented: "With the new alternation system put in place by the FIA, we looked at a number of possibilities in order to keep the organisation of the Monte Carlo Rally going. The IRC is the perfect solution. In its debut season, this series has demonstrated all its dynamism, value and potential. The idea won us over, so we are very happy to join this intercontinental series in 2009 and benefit from some exceptional media coverage that highlights the fundamental values of rallying: a healthy majority of amateurs, some stunning landscapes, a diverse field, close competition, and the emphasis firmly on the talent of individual drivers and co-drivers. "

Jacques Behar added: "It’s a very big honour for the IRC to start the 2009 season with the Monte Carlo Rally, the most prestigious event in the history of this sport. We have put in place an innovative media strategy around the IRC, the objective of which is to bring rallying to the people, especially via live television. We are going to continue developing this coverage into the future, and we will be delighted to offer all the fans of the Monte Carlo Rally, as well as of sport and rallying in general, live international coverage of this legendary event through the Eurosport network."

Launched in 2007, the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) is an international rally series authorised by the FIA and organised by Eurosport Events, a subsidiary of Eurosport Group that organises, promotes and develops sporting events all over the world. During its first full season, the IRC took in nine rallies with the participation of six registered manufacturers.

The IRC is broadcast live over the entire Eurosport Group network, but particularly on the pan-European channel Eurosport, which reaches 240 million viewers in 112 million homes across 59 countries.

The 2008 IRC calendar is : Istanbul Rally (4-6 April, Turkey)*, Portugal Rally (9-10 May), Ypres Westhoek Rally (27-28 June, Belgium), Rally Russia (11-12 July), Rally Vinho da Madeira (1-2 August, Portugal), Barum Rally Zlin (22-23 August, Czech Rep.), Principe de Asturias Rally (12-13 September, Spain), Sanremo Rally (25-27 September, Italy), Rallye du Valais (23-25 October, Switzerland), China Rally (7-9 November).

* The Safari Rally, originally scheduled to start the season, was withdrawn due to the current political situation in Kenya and replaced with the Istanbul Rally.

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