A record-breaking 28 Super 2000 cars are set to start Barum Czech Rally Zlin, round nine of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, which runs from 27-29 August.

The tally beats the existing benchmark of 24, held jointly by this year's Geko Ypres Rally and last season's Rallye Sanremo.

Among those expected to run at the front of the all-asphalt event, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this season, are 2009 winner Jan Kopecky, his Skoda Motorsport team-mate and IRC title leader Juho Hanninen, Peugeot UK's defending IRC champion Kris Meeke and Rali Vinho Madeira winner Freddy Loix.

Other notable names on the 130-car entry are Guy Wilks, who returns to the IRC following his injury-enforced lay-off, Czech championship leader Pavel Valousek, and Thierry Neuville, who finished third on his last IRC appearance in Ypres in late June.

Barum Czech Rally Zlin begins with a ceremonial start on Friday 27 August at 17:00hrs local time. The opening stage is a 9.36-kilometre run through the streets of host city Zlin. Crews will tackle the course in reverse number order with the first car due to start at 21:15hrs.

Zlin IRC return unlikely for Czech ace Prokop

Martin Prokop is almost certain not to make his return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge on Barum Czech Rally Zlin after his name did not appear on the 130-car entry published on Monday (August 16).

Prokop was due to finalise his plans after the finish of the non-IRC Rallye Deutschland on August 22. The rapid Czech driver is tackling the event in his regular M-Sport Ford Fiesta S2000.

"I would like to fight with [Jan] Kopecky and the Barum Rally is an event I really enjoy but I won't make my decision until after Rallye Deutschland," Prokop said recently.

Prokop's last appearance on the Zlin-based event was at the wheel of a BFGoodrich Drivers' Team-backed Peugeot 207 in 2009. He finished fifth overall.

Colin McRae charity donation planned for Zlin

Representatives from Colin McRae Vision will travel to Zlin in Czech Republic later this month to make a major financial donation to a charity based close to the route of round nine of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, which takes place from 27-29 August.

Colin McRae Vision was established following the death of the rallying legend, his young son Johnny and two family friends in a helicopter accident in 2007, to improve health and education for children around the world.

In June of this year, Colin McRae Vision and Eurosport Events, the promoter of the IRC, formed an official partnership. One of the objectives of the alliance is to work with organisers of selected rounds of the IRC to identify suitable projects and initiatives that help young people.

Although full details of the donation amount and the beneficiary charity won't be revealed until next week, Jim McRae, Colin's father, will attend Barum Czech Rally Zlin to help make the presentation to the charity. The presentation will be made on the start ramp prior to the rally getting underway at 17:00hrs local time.

Magalhaes gets extra IRC outing

Bruno Magalhaes was able to take some consolation from his disappointing outing on Rali Vinho Madeira earlier this month when he learned his Peugeot Sport Portugal team would be entering him on Rallye Sanremo in September.

Magalhaes had feared that the island rally would be his last in the IRC this year due to a shortage of funding. However, such has been the success of Peugeot Portugal's inaugural IRC campaign that company chiefs have agreed to extend the 30-year-old driver's programme from eight to nine events.

"The IRC programme has brought good success, not only in terms of the results of the races but also the projection of the Peugeot brand in Portugal," said a Peugeot Sport Portugal spokesperson. "It is for these reasons that we enter Bruno in Sanremo as well."

Magalhaes started Rali Vinho Madeira on a high after winning Sata Rallye Acores in July, his maiden victory in the IRC. After dropping out of contention with a puncture on stage two in Madeira, a heavy crash on the very next stage resulted in his first retirement of the season.

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