Circuit of Ireland and three other new events on 2012 IRC calendar
|By Jamie O'Leary
||Thursday, November 24th 2011, 11:59 GMT
The Circuit of Ireland is one of four rallies that will make their debuts in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge next year.
The championship unveiled its 2012 calendar on Thursday, with the Irish event joining those in San Marino, Romania and Bulgaria as new additions to the schedule, which will be expanded from 11 rounds to 13.
With the blue riband Monte Carlo Rally being lost to the World Rally Championship and Rally Scotland also dropping off the calendar, a greater proportion of the series will take place in Eastern Europe.
"We are very pleased to have finalised the 2012 IRC calendar during what is a very exciting time for the IRC," said Francois Ribeiro, business development manager of Eurosport Events, which runs the series.
"With new territories, more gravel rallies, the continued inclusion of some of the sport's most iconic events, IRC season six is set to be a big hit with the fans, drivers and teams.
"With more events in Eastern Europe the IRC will also benefit from new marketing and promotional opportunities, not to mention the huge numbers of spectators that attend those events.
"The new calendar will create an ideal platform for drivers to demonstrate their talents and for manufacturers and customer teams to showcase their products and services. We can't wait for the action to get underway."
There will be three all-gravel events - up from two this year - with nine rallies taking place on asphalt. Cyprus will be the only mixed-surface event in the championship, which gets underway on February 23-25 with the Azores Rally.
IRC 2012 calendar*
February 23-25 Rallye Acores (P)
March 15-17 Rally Islas Canarias (E)
April 6-7 Circuit of Ireland Rally (IRL)
May 11-12 Tour de Corse (F)
June 2-3 Mecsek Rallye (H)
June 21-23 Ypres Rally (B)
July 6-7 Rally San Marino (RSM)
July 20-22 Rally Romania (ROU)
August 31-September 2 Rally Zlin (CZ)
September 15-16 Yalta Rally (UKR)
Septemnber 29-30 Rally Sliven (BU)
October 12-13 Rallye Sanremo (I)
November 2-3 Cyprus Rally (CYP)
*Subject to FIA approval