On Friday starts the International Rally de Curitiba, next round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. The gravel event starts the “summer season” and brings the IRC to Brazil and South America for the first time, and despite being an overseas event the start list is quite OK. Reigning IRC champion Nicolas Vouilloz will be accompanied by Kris Meeke, Freddy Loix, Giandomenico Basso, Anton Alen, former PWRC name Marcos Ligato and a number of other local South American drivers.
Among the challenges for the drivers I rank tyre choices highest. The stages are fast and flowing where cars can reach quite high speeds – which means the unpredicatable weather with rain forecasted will make tyre choices crucial. A wrong tyre choice will mean slower acceleration, earlier braking points and will for sure go directly into the results table.
Anyway, the most interesting thing with this rally is the format and location, where Eurosport Events continue to set new standards regarding innovative marketing. The rally service will be co-located with this weekends World Touring Car Championship premiere in the Curitiba cirquit. The rally is ran from Friday morning to Saturday lunch – making it end just before the WTCC qualifyings. This means motorsport fans (there are quite a lot of them in South America) as well as media can cover both events in a very easy and cheap way.
The conclusion is that IRC has once again tried out a new grip promoting their championship and getting it easy and interesting to watch, with a chance of attracting new fans to the rally sport (mainly those ones that have got into racing but not yet understood that rally is far better). I’ve said it before, but it’s good enough to be repeated: FIA should really watch and learn from the IRC organisers and take all those good things into the WRC.
Wanna see how the Curitiba is? Watch my previously posted videos.