IRC

Peugeot Chasing Victory In Landmark Monte Carlo Rally

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Peugeot will be represented in force on the Monte Carlo Rally's centenary event on January 19-22, aiming to repeat the victory that it scored two years ago, when the legendary rally was first run as a round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

15 of the 120 crews due to start the 79th Monte Carlo Rally have entered Peugeot 207 Super 2000s. Heading these are the entries from Peugeot subsidiaries. Peugeot France have entered three 207 Super 2000s, to be driven by 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg of Norway, 2010 French champion Bryan Bouffier and sportscar star Stephane Sarrazin.

Solberg never won the Monte Carlo Rally when it was a round of the WRC, with a best result of fifth in 2008, his last with Subaru and the Monte's last in the WRC. He will now be aiming to start his 2011 season in the best possible way, ahead of a campaign in the WRC in a privately-run Citroen DS3.

Bouffier impressed on the handful of occasions when he competed in the IRC last year, so will certainly be amongst the frontrunners in Monte Carlo. Sarrazin finished third in 2009 and fourth in 2010 and will be looking to score another good result this time round.

Peugeot Belgium-Luxembourg, who won the 2008 IRC title with Nicolas Vouilloz, will compete with young Belgian driver Thierry Neuville. Peugeot UK are returning for a third season in the IRC, Guy Wilks replacing WRC-bound Kris Meeke behind the wheel of the team's entry. Wilks turns 30 on the final day of the rally (January 22), so what better than a Monte Carlo victory as a present on his debut with the French marque? Peugeot Portugal will also be represented, with Bruno Magalhaes looking to build upon a successful 2010 in which he finished fifth in the IRC standings and won in the Azores.

Several other well-known drivers will take the start of the rally behind the wheel of a Peugeot. These include the inaugural IRC champion Giandomenico Basso of Italy and Finland's Toni Gardemeister, who finished second on the Monte for Ford in 2005 before finishing third in 2006 in a Peugeot 307 WRC, entered by the same Astra Racing team who will prepare his 207 this time round. Also driving a 207 Super 2000 will be French veteran Francois Delacour, who won the 1994 Monte Carlo Rally.

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