More than 70 crews will contest the 50th running of Rali Vinho Madeira, round seven of the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge, it has been confirmed.
Entries closed last week and contain a total of 21 runners in Super 2000 machinery for the all-asphalt event, which starts on Thursday July 30 and draws to a close on Saturday August 1 following 21 competitive stages.
Overall fifty-three entries are from Portugal, including 39 from the island of Madeira, while 19 are of other nationalities - with nine coming from Italy, four from France and two from the United Kingdom, including Kris Meeke, the current leader of the IRC drivers' standings, and the impressive new Proton driven by Guy Wilks.
Luca Rossetti is amongst the 'outsiders' on the entry list and he will return to the IRC for this event and compete in the second factory Abarth Grande Punto.
The Italian was given the name 'Mr 100 per cent' for winning four IRC rounds in succession between 2007 and 2008. However, he has concentrated on the Italian Rally Championship since signing for Abarth for this year and has only made one appearance in the IRC in 2009, the Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo back in January, when he was an early retirement after crashing. He will partner Giandomenico Basso.
Meanwhile of the local drivers expected to make an impression, youngsters Bruno Magalhaes, driving a Peugeot 207 Super 2000, and Bernardo Sousa, in an Abarth Grande Punto, are the two most likely to trouble the front-runners in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.