MSA Performance Director and former World Rally Champion co-driver, Robert Reid, was in Glasgow on Tuesday (14th October) to join Scotland's First Minister, the Rt Hon Alec Salmond MSP, at the announcement of a Scottish round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) in 2009.
The announcement of the event, secured by EventScotland the national events agency working in partnership with Stirling and Perth and Kinross Councils, was made by the First Minister who confirmed that Scotland will stage the final round of the prestigious IRC from 19-21 November next year, forming a centrepiece event within the Homecoming Scotland 2009 celebrations.
Making the announcement the First Minister of Scotland, the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP said:
"Scotland's reputation for leading innovation and setting new standards in the motor sport industry makes it an ideal location for the Intercontinental Rally Challenge final. The event will be made even more special as it will be one of the signature events in our Homecoming programme. For 2009 we are inviting Scotland's friends and family to return home to celebrate our strengths and culture. Today that invitation is being extended to the countless rally fans and enthusiasts around the world. With dramatic landscapes, warm hospitality and fierce competition - I hope that many will answer the Homecoming rally call."
Alan Gow, Chairman of both the MSA and its commercial subsidiary International Motor Sports (IMS), who will organise and promote the event, said: "The MSA and IMS are delighted to be able to make this announcement. Rallying has a great heritage in Scotland and I'm sure that there will be drivers and fans around the world who will be thrilled at the prospect of the IRC event being held there. This will be a world-class event of which Scotland can be truly proud and we look forward to working with everyone to make that a reality."
The Intercontinental Rally Challenge was introduced in 2006 as a new rally series, carrying the endorsement of the FIA and is closely based on production cars, with 2 litre, normally aspirated engines. This format is designed to attract more manufacturers to the sport and is now supported by Fiat, Honda, Mitsubishi, Peugeot and Volkswagen.
The international-status event will be decided by three days of competitive driving over timed Special Stages on closed Forestry Commission Scotland gravel roads in Stirling and Perth and Kinross and will include a ceremonial start, service stop and high profile village featuring additional activity for the many thousands of spectators expected.
Paul Bush Chief Operating Officer of EventScotland, the national events agency, said: "Today's announcement is fantastic news for Scotland and demonstrates yet again our nation's credentials as the perfect stage for major international events. Scotland hasn't hosted a rally of this stature for 20 years and staging the final round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge provides an opportunity to further enhance Scotland's reputation within the motor sport industry."