» BACK TO CRASH.NET

Crash.Net WRC News

IRC: Q&A: Andrew Coe - EXCLUSIVE

17 October 2008

by Rob Wilkins


TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH ANDREW COE: CLICK HERE


Scotland will stage the final round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge next year, it was confirmed this week. Crash.net Radio spoke to Andrew Coe - CEO of event organiser and promoter, International Motor Sports, to get the details on the event, which will run from November 19-21 2009...


Crash.net:
Andrew - we have had great news today, with confirmation that Scotland will host the final round of the IRC from 2009...

Andrew Coe:
It is brilliant – and as you can imagine, we are absolutely delighted. We have been working hard on this for the last couple of years and it is only quite recently that it has come to fruition. But to secure the final round in the 2009 IRC for Scotland and for the UK, with a brand new event as well, which makes it even more impressive, is great news for all of us. It is another major championship that is now coming to the UK.

Crash.net:
Scotland hasn't hosted a major international rally event for quite some time has it?

AC:
Believe it or not it is about 20 years since the old RAC Rally last visited Scotland. It is an historic day. It is a word that has been used many times in our press conference - but it is a very important day in the history of motorsport in Scotland. There is a rich heritage here and Scotland deserves a major event of this calibre.

Crash.net:
It is going to be a three-day event - can you tell us anything more about the route?

AC:
We have two partners in both Perth and Kinross Council and Stirling Council and while we haven't decided what the route will be yet, clearly we want to support the councils that are putting an investment in. The route, once we have decided what it will be, will be within the bounds of those two councils. Both are in central Scotland and there are some really, really fantastic world class stages here. We are very lucky in that respect. Over the next few weeks and months we will be coming out with some more developments in regard to what the format will be, what venue we will use and confirming the host city and service park arrangements etc, etc. There is a lot of hard work to do as of today.

Crash.net:
Is there any chance we will see some night stages?

AC:
I think that is possible. Certainly in November, which is when the event is going to happen, it is more than likely we will be running in the dark and there will be some night stages. It is something we have obviously experimented with over the last few years with Rally GB as well. I think it is something that is making a return to the sport. Why not?

Crash.net:
How long is the deal for?

AC:
It is a three-year deal both ways. We have got a deal with Eurosport Events, who are the global promoters of the IRC series and we have also got a three-year deal in place with Events Scotland and the two partner councils with funding coming in from them. So we can look forward to 2009 through to 2011 and hopefully even further on into the future.

Crash.net:
The IRC is a relatively new championship - does it worry you that there are no Brits competing in it regularly? Will that adversely affect crowd numbers?

AC:
Obviously with an event of the stature we are going to need to attract local support. The idea is that as the event develops we will tap into some of the domestic championships - the Scottish Rally Championship and perhaps even the British Rally Championship. This is a platform now for the IRC to develop a following in the UK. There are some British drivers who have been involved in one or two events this year and hopefully this will encourage more people to do it.

Crash.net:
Is it likely that, like Rally GB, the Scottish IRC event could form part of the BRC in the future?

AC:
It is certainly something we have been considering and we have been talking to the BRC about that. They are aware of this event and its launch here today. I think an event of this calibre and an event of this size will inevitably benefit the BRC in terms of its promotional development and vice versa. There is lots of interest and potential to crossover. I think it would be a great development if we could work together with the BRC championship and [BRC boss] Mark Taylor. Hopefully we will have some good announcements in the future.

Crash.net:
Could this event ever rival Rally GB in anyway?

AC:
Obviously the World Rally Championship is akin to the Premiership in Football. It is the pinnacle of world rallying. But what I have been very impressed with here in Scotland in our dealings, especially over the last twelve months, is that there is a huge appetite for rallying. The pedigree and names associated with rallying and Scotland just come to mind immediately - and obviously Colin McRae would be at the top of that list. There is a will to make this happen. It is going to take a while to develop an event up to the standards of a WRC event. But I think if there is a will to do that - and certainly there is some world class stages and terrain here in Scotland - who knows what could happen. We will keep reviewing that over the next two to three years.

Crash.net:
Finally, is there any news yet on if Rally GB will get to stage a round of the WRC in 2010?

AC:
At the moment, on the calendar that has been published, we do not form a part of the World Rally Championship in 2010. But, having said that, Wales Rally GB is certainly an event that is probably unique in the world in that, despite not having WRC status, it could be that we run an event anyway of a serious nature - if we had the continued backing of Wales. That is something we are working on and we are putting some plans together for what could happen in 2010. We are still working with the FIA and lobbying to make sure that if the calendar does change for 2010 - and there are some suggestions and it has been widely covered in the media, that the 2010 WRC calendar could still be subject to some changes. If that is the case, we would be delighted and pushing hard to be in there as part of the WRC. But even if we are not, we may find it is feasible to run a major event in Wales, based in Cardiff as normal, and still attract a very good value participation base from which we can run a very special event.

Crash.net:
Could that be a bit like what the Monte Carlo Rally is doing next year and tie in with IRC?

AC:
Not necessarily the IRC. But I think there are a number of major events in the World Rally Championship that are tapping their fingers on the table and saying: 'What do we do?' As I said, because of the strength of our sport in the UK, it could be that we run a major event that wouldn't necessarily form part of the WRC. We wouldn't be setting a precedent either. Some people, with slightly older memories, might recall in 1995 or 1996 when the Network Q Rally, as it was then, wasn't formally part of the WRC. It did form part of the Production World Rally Championship. But despite not being a full WRC event it did take place and it was as good and as big as ever. People came to support it and what is upper most in our thinking is: 'Could we actually run a huge event of the scale of Wales Rally GB without necessarily being a points' scoring round of the WRC?' It is not something we have agreed to yet. But it is certainly a possibility.


TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH ANDREW COE: CLICK HERE


» BACK TO CRASH.NET