Honda did something that no other car make had done before when it beat Peugeot to the IRC 2WD Cup manufacturers’ title in 2011. The Japanese company secured the accolade after three years of Peugeot dominance with a one-three finish on RACMSA Rally of Scotland in October courtesy of Martin Kangur and János Puskádi, who both made several appearances during the course of the season. Honda’s Civic Type R has proved a popular choice in the IRC thanks to its affordability, reliability and competitiveness. A series of homologation upgrades from 1 April 2012 have been designed to ensure the Civic stays at the sharp end of IRC 2WD Cup competition this year.
M-Sport, Ford’s respected rallying partner, made an instant impact on the IRC in 2010 when Mikko Hirvonen took the company’s Fiesta S2000 to a debut victory on Rallye Monte-Carlo. Run by former driver Malcolm Wilson from a state-of-the-art factory in Cumbria, north-west England, M-Sport has been the mastermind behind Ford’s World Rally Championship campaign since 1997, and worked in tandem with the Blue Oval on the development of the Fiesta S2000, which is used by several privateer drivers in the IRC. M-Sport has also developed a lower-specification Fiesta conforming to the R2 regulations, while its new turbocharged Fiesta RRC will break cover in the IRC in 2012.
No manufacturer has enjoyed more success in the IRC than Peugeot, which increased its tally of event wins to 23 in 2011 thanks to Bryan Bouffier, who finished first on Rallye Monte-Carlo, and Thierry Neuville, who captured the classics in Corsica and Sanremo in their 207 S2000s. Peugeot boasts an illustrious history in rallying and has been an enthusiastic and extremely successful member of the IRC family since 2007 when it clinched the first of three manufacturers’ titles. While the number of Peugeot importers active in the IRC this season has been reduced ahead of the arrival of the 207’s replacement, the 208, Peugeot Sport is unleashing a host of car improvements for the upcoming campaign. In addition to its three IRC drivers’ and manufacturers’ crowns, Peugeot has also enjoyed success in the IRC 2WD Cup with a front-wheel-drive version of its 207.
Officially competing as a brand for the first time in the IRC championship, Renault will undoubtedly rely on the Clio 3 Maxi Evo - the car of the IRC Cup 2WD 2011 Champion, but also on the fast Megane N4 which is expected to do wonders on the asphalt roads of the championship. To ensure the high level of performance and reliability of Renault Sport products, the brand's customers service will be onsite during most of the IRC rallyes. The IRC Cup 2WD should be once more extremely competitive and even more exciting thanks to Renault Sport's stronger involvement.
ŠKODA celebrated 110 years of motorsport participation during the IRC in 2011 as it claimed back-to-back drivers’ and manufacturers’ crowns with its Fabia Super 2000. The Czech company has a long history of motorsport success both on the race circuit and the rally stage and its rally team has finished on the podium on some of the world’s toughest events, such as the epic Safari Rally, in addition to claiming countless victories in the IRC since it joined the series in 2009. As well as running its famed factory team in the IRC and developing its Fabia S2000, ŠKODA unleashed an R2-version of the car for use in the IRC 2WD Cup and it’s likely to prove a popular option in 2012.
Subaru is one of the most iconic manufacturers in rallying, having been present at the forefront of the sport since the early 1990s. It registered as an IRC manufacturer for the first time in 2010 and its Impreza car became a popular sight in the series in the hands of several established privateers, who contested the Subaru Individual Award, an incentive scheme offered by the Japanese company. Subaru continued its IRC participation in 2011 when it launched the R4 version of the Impreza, which Toshi Arai took to victory in the inaugural IRC Production Cup. Arai, Andreas Aigner and Jarkko Nikara are all in line for Subaru factory support this season although several privateers will also be represented.
Motorsport has always been an integral part of Michelin's DNA and the company remains committed to all forms of the sport,
on two wheels and four. The Michelin brand returns to top level rallying in 2011 to face the technical and human challenges it craves in order
to test the life, safety, energy efficiency and the notion of driving pleasure of its products.
Yokohama have developed a strong reputation in rallying over recent years, supplying a versatile range of asphalt and gravel covers all
over the world. The brand has become synonymous with performance and durability, in order to provide the best possible quality and value to its
Rally Radio is the all-rally sports station streaming live commentary, interviews, and features at each rally event, covering every stage and all
the action. Part of the iRally operation, founded by Greg Strange, owned and operated by Crown House Media, hosted by Julian Porter with the stage
end reporting team, Rally Radio's world wide audience includes fans, journalists, drivers, organisers and teams - who rely upon the station for fast,
accurate reporting. Listen Live to the IRC Rally Radio