The Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo will open the Intercontinental Rally Challenge season again in 2010, it was announced this week.

The 79th edition of the event will incorporate a number of changes and in addition to a revised route, besides the usual Super 2000, Class N and Class A cars, a new class will see GT cars authorised to start.

The event, which will run from January 19-23, will begin in Valence - as opposed to Monaco - and will feature a 9 kilometre 'selection' stage between Lente, Col de l'Echarasson and Col de Gaudissart on the Tuesday, which will be used to determine the start order.

Like this year, the action will then begin 'proper' on the Wednesday, and while the roads in Ardeche will once more be in the spotlight, it will comprise two new tests through Burzet and St Pierreville - both run twice.

The schedule for the Thursday meanwhile remains the same, as it does largely for that on the Friday / early Saturday morning.

Speaking following the presentation for the 2010 Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo, Rene Isoart, general commissioner of the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM), noted that he is happy to see the event remain in the IRC again rather than return to the World Rally Championship.

"The Monte Carlo Rally is staying with the IRC," he explained, "because we have found within this series all the necessary ingredients to allow the rally to return to the fundamental values of the sport."

Geraldine Filiol, director general of Eurosport Events, the promoter of the IRC, added that the live coverage on Eurosport, which was a notable feature this year, will definitely return in 2010.

"We are very proud to again extend a warm welcome from the IRC to the Monte Carlo Rally and to continue our fruitful collaboration with the ACM," Filiol added.

"As with the 2009 rally, we are planning wide-ranging coverage of the event with live TV broadcasts of the specials on Eurosport offering viewers unique coverage of this very prestigious event."

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