2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge champion Kris Meeke will prepare for the second round of the series in Brazil next month with a four-day test in France from 8-11 February.

The 30-year-old from Northern Ireland won Rally Internacional de Curitiba when it was included in the IRC for the first time last season. It was his first of four victories during his title-winning campaign.

"It's a five-day Peugeot Sport test and I'm doing four days. More time in the car is always good and we should head to Brazil in good shape," said Meeke, who received more good news recently when he was presented with the Association of Northern Ireland Car Clubs' Northern Ireland Motorsport Award.

Meanwhile competitors on Rally Internacional de Curitiba are set for a spectacular finish after it was revealed that a new 3.38-kilometre superspecial stage is being built close to the Autodromo Internacional de Curitiba where the gravel rally will be based from 4-6 March.

It will mark the 15th and final stage of the event. Crews will tackle the stage in pairs and organisers hope that up to 15,000 spectators will turn up to watch.

"There will be a bridge with a crossing point so we can have two cars side by side," said event promoter, Marcos Marcola. "The stage is close to the city of Curitiba and close to the service park so we hope it will make it easy for the fans to go and see. Everybody likes this kind of show and I think it will be very exciting for the rally and for the drivers."


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