Intercontinental Rally Challenge leader Kris Meeke has been confirmed to appear at The Rally Show at Chatsworth, where he is scheduled to drive his Peugeot 207 S2000.
Coming just a week after Meeke took the lead of the championship by winning his second IRC event in a row at the Sata Rallye Azores, Meeke's appearance at Chatsworth in June will be the only time that British rally fans will get a chance to see him in action with the Kronos Peugeot before November, when he is due to enter the Rally Scotland.
All but that very last round of the IRC take place in countries scattered around the globe, from Brazil to Japan and from Kenya to China.
The appearance of a state-of-the-art Peugeot 207 Super 2000 - which heads the 2009 Manufacturer's IRC table by 29 points from Mitsubishi - is of special interest, since this formula will replace the current World Rally Car from 2010, as part of the cost-cutting initiatives taken by the FIA and the car manufacturers.
Meeke started his rally career as a engineer and CAD designer with M-Sport, but he needed little encouragement to get involved with rallying since his father, Sidney, had for many years prepared rally cars in Northern Ireland, in particular for Bertie Fisher. In 2000, Kris won a Peugeot competition to find new rally drivers and rapidly progressed through the Peugeot Cup.
He gained the support and backing of Colin McRae, which helped him to win the British Junior Championship of 2002 in a Ford Puma. Drives in a range of S1600 cars in the Junior World Championship followed, also with help from McRae, but individual wins were not enough to capture a title. Experience in WRCars during 2007 finally led to a drive for Peugeot GB for 2009.
The Rally Show at Chatsworth will see a further invasion of Irish champions, who are coming to contest the Nations Cup. Currently their team is headed by Eugene Donnelly, four times Irish Tarmac Champion and winner of the recent Larsen Circuit of Ireland. He will be driving the Skoda Fabia WRC with which he won that event and he will be joined in the Irish team by his brother, Charlie Donnelly, a former Irish National Rally Champion, who will drive a Toyota Corolla WRC. The third member of the Irish team will be announced shortly.
The confirmed list of cars and drivers appearing in the History of Rallying are now up on The Rally Show's website. They cover the 40 years from 1950 to 1990 and range from an L-Type Allard which did the first post-war RAC Rally in 1951, to the Peugeot 405 T16 in which Ari Vatanen won the Paris-Dakar Rally of 1990.
With 18 May as the absolute final day for acceptance on entries in the nine special stage events which will run at Chatsworth over the 6/7 June weekend, news from the Rally Office is that there is only a handful of places left and that some events are already over-subscribed. This means that The Rally Show will have 90-plus entrants in its competitive events.
Of course, there will also be demonstrations, such as those by Kris Meeke and others, plus a host of other attractions which you will find listed on The Rally Show website at www.therallyshow.org
Tickets for entry on either or both days will be available from the website until 25 May at a lower price than they can be bought on the day.