Honda driver Alessandro Bettega is aiming to win this year's inaugural IRC 2WD title after taking the lead of the series thanks to his excellent win on the last round in Sanremo.
Bettega, who is competing in the Junior World Rally Championship category on the Rally Catalunya this weekend in a Renault Clio R3, is currently three points ahead of Fiat's Marco Cavigioli with two rounds in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge to go.
Bettega has confirmed his participation on the next round of the IRC series - the Rallye du Valais in Switzerland, but he will not go to the China Rally at the end of the year. This means that the Italian is pinning his title hopes on a strong performance in Switzerland.
"We definitely need to do a good job there," he stated. "In a perfect world, we could already win the IRC 2WD championship on the Rallye du Valais, but in order to do that we need a really good result.
"I know that the Honda is good on these roads though, so I think we stand a decent chance. After then, everything is out of our hands. We've put in a lot of hard work, and the car is as I want it now."
Last year's Rallye du Valais saw the Honda Civic Type R R3 claim its best overall result to date in the IRC, with fifth overall thanks to Luca Betti.
However, Bettega will have his work cut out to secure the IRC 2WD title this year as Cavigioli has already indicated his intention to contest the China Rally at the end of the season.
"It's a championship we're determined to win, so it should be a very good fight," added Cavigioli, who drives a Fiat Punto Diesel.
"The diesel does not always have the out-and-out performance of some of the other cars and so we have to rely on consistency and reliability. Unfortunately we have not had the reliability we wanted so far, so we will need to be consistent over the rest of the year."