by Rob Wilkins


Scotland got a major boost on Tuesday with confirmation that the country will host the final round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in November 2009. Radio spoke to MSA performance director and 2001 WRC winning co-driver Robert Reid, who was a guest at the launch of the RAC MSA International Rally of Scotland, to get his thoughts on the news...
Robert, obviously we have had some exciting news today with confirmation that Scotland will hold a round of the IRC from 2009.

Robert Reid:
It is fantastic. 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. It is phenomenal that the country is going to get the opportunity to showcase an event of this stature.
It has been a long time hasn't it since Scotland has hosted an international rally?

Yeah, somebody did say 20 years - I don't know if that is quite right or not. It wasn't quite before my time, but it is a long time, even with the recent Colin McRae Rally and all the interest in rallying in Scotland that brought. The facilities we have here, the scenery, the stages, the whole thing, I think it will just make a really special event.
It will take place in November next year, so it is likely to be cold and dark - and potentially the weather could be a big factor.

Yes, but no more so I would say than RAC and Rally GB events of the past. But certainly the further north you go the shorter the days are. I think the crews will need to get the spotlights out!
That could improve the spectacle, couldn't it?

It could and I think another thing with the IRC is that there are not the same stipulations on events 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.
Do you think this event could ever rival Wales Rally GB?

I don't know - it is fair way down the road and there is a contract with Wales for a number of years yet. But I think the main thing is that everybody in Scotland needs to support it and come and be part of this event. We need to make sure it is a great event for Scotland and a great event in the IRC calendar.
Would you expect it to 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 their skills against the best in the IRC.
The deal is for three-years, how do you think it will evolve over that period?

It is very early days still and 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. 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.
Have you heard anything about the stages that could make up the route?

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, service park and of course the stages.




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