Eurosport: European Rally Championship will echo 1970s glory days

The European Rally Championship's effective merger with the Intercontinental Rally Challenge will allow the ERC to recapture its halcyon days, according to organiser Eurosport

Eurosport: European Rally Championship will echo 1970s glory days

The FIA announced last month that Eurosport would become the ERC promoter for the next decade. The move means the end of Eurosport's existing IRC series after six seasons.

Eurosport will blend elements of the existing IRC and ERC calendars to create a 12-round 2013 season. Austria's Janner Rally snow event will open the series on 3-5 January next year.

One of the IRC's primary strengths was its use of live television - with its coverage of the Monte Carlo Rally being a particular highlight - and Eurosport Events' commercial director Francois Ribeiro said the same techniques would be deployed for the ERC.

"We have no intention of downscaling the current promotional effort when we switch from the IRC to the ERC," Ribeiro told AUTOSPORT.

"Our outstanding staff have the sole objective of restoring the ERC to its former glories of the 1970s.

"The opportunity to take on the promotion of the ERC is a significant one for Eurosport Events. Not only does it enable our company to showcase our vast expertise and experience on an even more prominent platform, it also provides the chance to strengthen the ERC, an important international rally championship with a 60-year history, while also growing our already strong relationship with the FIA."

Ribeiro also hinted that the IRC title would be retained in some form. He said Eurosport was considering a worldwide event taking competitors from the ERC, Asia-Pacific, African and Middle-East championships.

"Eurosport is still open for [a] one-off event outside Europe with champions from all other FIA regional championships," he said.

Former IRC and Super 2000 World Rally champion Juho Hanninen recently claimed this year's ERC crown with Skoda.

To read AUTOSPORT's exclusive interview with Eurosport commercial director Francois Ribeiro click here

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Series ERC
Author David Evans
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