20 Jan 08
The 2008 FIA World Rally Championship season was officially launched on Sunday night at a reception in Monaco. The event was attended by a host of WRC drivers, representatives from teams and manufacturers, and key figures from motorsport governing body, the FIA.
The reception took place at the prestigious headquarters of the Automobile Club de Monaco, host of the opening round of the series, Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo, which starts on Thursday 24 January.
Six manufacturer teams, including newcomers Suzuki, will compete for the FIA World Rally Championship for Manufacturers in 2008, and rally cars from the teams were displayed outside the function on the Boulevard Albert 1er - better known to motorport fans as the start-finish straight of the Monaco Grand Prix.
This year’s WRC is made up of 15 rallies run on five continents. Drivers will compete on snow, ice, gravel and asphalt, in temperatures ranging from -20░ to +40░ Centigrade. A new event for 2008, Rally Jordan, is expected to add another dimension to the challenge.
FIA President Max Mosley said: “I look forward to another fascinating and exciting season in the FIA World Rally Championship, with young talent competing against some of the world's most experienced drivers. We are also delighted to welcome another manufacturer to the Championship and a new host country, adding yet more cultural diversity to a unique sporting spectacle.”
As ISC, the global media and commercial rights holders of the WRC, gears up for the start of the season, CEO Simon Long announced that WRC fans can expect a feast of innovative programming to capture the excitement of the sport:
“Our objective is to bring our millions of fans around the world ever closer to the best action and entertainment which makes WRC so captivating,” said Long. “We are looking to take the lid off WRC this year by introducing a wider range of television programming and content. Watch out also for our new-look website, wrc.com, where fans will be able to get right into the heart of the WRC through a broader mix of content, news and video footage than ever before - all free of charge.”