Frenchman Nicolas Vouilloz has won the 2008 IRC Intercontinental drivers' title with one round to go, after finishing second on the Rallye du Valais in Switzerland.

The 32-year-old Peugeot Belgium driver now cannot be beaten on the China Rally, which is the final event on this year's IRC calendar from December 5-7.

"It's fantastic for me to finally win this prestigious title," said Vouilloz. "We've been really consistent all year, and we've tried to make sure we made as few mistakes as possible.

"I have to say that the competition was very strong and there were some really quick drivers on every round, so that makes our championship win even more satisfying.

"The IRC has been a really good series this year, and from what I can see of the television and the promotion, I think it can only get stronger in the future."

Vouilloz was narrowly beaten to the IRC title last year by his team-mate, Enrique Garcia Ojeda, after taking three victories. In his second season of the IRC series, the Frenchman claimed one win in Madeira and finished on the podium of every event held so far apart from Rally Russia, where a mechanical problem dropped him to fifth.

"It's been an excellent season for us," added the Peugeot Belgium driver, who is also a ten-time downhill mountain bike champion. "After being beaten to the title last year, I was more determined than ever to win it this year, and thanks to an absolutely fantastic job from the Kronos Racing team, which runs the Peugeot Belgium cars, we were able to do it.

"I'd like to thank everybody in our team who made this possible: there's been a lot of very hard work put in over the course of the season and I hope this result makes it worth all the effort."

Nicolas Klinger has also secured the 2008 IRC co-drivers' title, having accompanied Vouilloz from the start of the season.

"It's been a fantastic adventure from start to finish," he continued. "I think we have improved as a package this year, but so did everybody else. This championship has been a really nice challenge."

Peugeot has already mathematically won the 2008 IRC manufacturers' title, after finishing second and third on the Sanremo Rally in Italy at the end of September with Vouilloz and Luca Rossetti.

In total, the Peugeot 207 Super 2000 has scored eight wins and 14 other podium places from the eight IRC events held so far in 2008.

"Nicolas has done a great job all year and he thoroughly deserves the title," concluded IRC's motorsport development director, Jean-Pierre Nicolas. "Having shown us what he could do already last year, this year he has taken another step up and found the perfect balance between speed and consistency, resulting in the IRC title after what has been a tremendously competitive season to date."

The IRC final classifications will be confirmed after the last event of the season, the Rally China from December 5-7.



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