by Rob Wilkins

Robert Reid has predicted that the RAC MSA International Rally of Scotland is going to be a 'phenomenal' event, when it takes place for the first time next year and brings down the curtain on the 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

The First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond confirmed earlier this week that Scotland will stage an IRC round from '09, with the event taking place in November and including three-days of action based in the famous forests to the north of Scotland's capital, Edinburgh.

Reid, who was a guest at the press conference, told Radio that the scenery around Perth, Kinross and Stirling will make it very special.

"It is fantastic news. Scotland has a great sporting heritage and personally for me, being a Scot and having won the Scottish Rally - when it was based in Perth - it is just great," he stated. "It is phenomenal that the country is going to get the opportunity to showcase an event of this stature.

"Somebody did say it is 20 years since Scotland last hosted an international rally. I don't know if that is quite right or not and while it wasn't quite before my time, it is a long time.

"The facilities we have here, the scenery, the stages, the whole thing, I think it will just make a really special event.

"Also another thing with the IRC is that there are not the same stipulations on events [as there are in the WRC] in terms of minimum and maximum distances, service parks and all the rest.

"The organisers can look at what they have to play with and what facilities and stages they have, and then just utilise them to the absolute maximum and create a brilliant event."

Asked how the event might evolve over the next three years, Reid added that it is still too early to say: "It hasn't been decided how it will be in 2009 yet! Okay there is a date and it is happening - but there are a lot of things that the organising team have to put together in terms of start venues, finish venues and all the different bits and pieces," he explained.

"We need to wait and see what the format is in 'Year 1' and then make sure that is built on in the second two years.

"At the moment the only thing confirmed is that there are two Scottish regions involved in the bid. I think it is fair to say that the Perth and Kinross regions and Stirling will host the majority of the start-finish venues, the service park and of course the stages."

So will it be well supported by British competitors?

"I think so, especially given it is at the end of everyone's season and the eligible cars will be Super 2000 and Group N, which falls in line nicely with the British Rally Championship regulations. I would imagine that there are going to be quite a few competitors that are going to come and want to pit there skills against the best in the IRC," he summed-up.




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