So the IRC has come to a final end in a poorly supported Cyprus Rally, with Al-Attiyah winning in a Fiesta. More of a whimper than a bang. What happened to this championship which looked so good a few years ago and was so strongly overshadowing the WRC? Even Eurosport, the championship promoter, seemed to lose interest in the last couple of years, with coverage becoming more and more sketchy. Is the demise of the IRC and the poor state of the WRC simply the result of the times we live in and the economic realities of today?
A sad end to what had been a fantastic series. I only started following it properly in 2008, and the Live coverage of Valais. I was super impressed.
The 2009-2011 seasons were the best, plenty of competition, different drivers, cars, fantastic events. You want to run stages at night? Go ahead, no problem! So Col de Turini again run at night. Sanremo running a mega 40km stage in the Friday night, Rally Scotland running into the night. Awesome!!! It was giving teams, drivers, Manufacturers, fans everything they wanted from an International Rally series.....as opposed to the formulaic WRC. Nothing highlighted this than in 2009; the Live coverage of the Monte, followed a week later by the WRC Rally Ireland, and highlights late at night with 'as live' commentary, it was lazy, tired.
There are so many memories, too many to mention - I hope they would bring out a DVD showing just what a great series this was.
The new ERC calendar seems to be a good mix of snow, gravel and tarmac events. It's now up to Eurosport to promote and cover them properly. My one criticism of the IRC was the hit & miss coverage. Some live, mostly dis-jointed highlights. The live coverage was fantastic, the Montes of 2009-11 were incredible.