IRC: Franz Wittmann 2010 season preview

Franz Wittmann's rally show in the IRC enters its second round After his learning year the Interwetten-driver wants to compete with the best this year in the Peugeot 207 S2000 Just like last year the premiere will take place at the legendary...

Franz Wittmann's rally show in the IRC enters its second round

After his learning year the Interwetten-driver wants to compete with the best this year in the Peugeot 207 S2000

Just like last year the premiere will take place at the legendary Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo

One really didn't have to be a soothsayer in order to notice at the Rallye Waldviertel 2009 that Franz Wittmann and the Peugeot 207 S2000 have a perfect understanding. And thanks to his sponsor Interwetten the 26-year-old Lower Austrian will continue this partnership. Following Wittmann's performances last season the internationally highly successful betting provider decided to support Franz Wittmann in his second season, as well. He was furthermore given the opportunity to change into a "higher class" which will enable Franz Wittmann to compete for one or more absolute top results.

"Following our very successful testing year in the IRC we are now looking excitedly forward to the performance of our young hopeful with a competitive car. Interwetten wholeheartedly supports Franz and wishes him the biggest of successes", explains Interwetten-founder Wolfgang Fabian.

Interwetten Sponsoring- and PR-Manager Michael Summer expects some definite highlights this year already at the IRC runs. But he also stresses the profound basis which had already been set last year.

Summer: "As an Austrian company we want to offer a young native talent the opportunity to make his mark in international motor sports. This cooperation is meant as a long-term one. After Franz Wittmann has already fulfilled and even exceeded the expectations of in 2009, we feel justified in our decision."

Now it is up to Franz Wittmann to continue his success run in 2010. The road for this has been paved even though there are still many kilometres to complete with the new car. For in this class especially experience counts for more than anywhere else.

Wittmann: "On the one hand it is a great feeling to know that one drives an absolutely competitive car. On the other hand it is also a big responsibility since now we will be judged in comparison with the top drivers. I will, in any case, do my all so that my sponsor Interwetten will be convinced of having made the right decision at the end of 2010, as well."

The Peugeot 207 S2000 stems from the tuning wizards of Ronald Leschhorn - ROMO Motorsporttechnik. The German is far from unknown in the house of Wittmann. In 2001 he already had deployed the very Toyota Corolla WRC which enabled Franz Wittmann sen. to win his twelfth National Championship title. But his business card also boasts of drivers like Walter Röhrl, Ari Vatanen, Juha Kankkunen or Carlos Sainz.

The Peugeot which Franz Wittmann will steer in the IRC 2010 is state of the art.

Leschhorn: "The engine, gearbox and differentials are in accordance with evolution step 2010. The cooperation with a sponsor like Interwetten, as well as with Peugeot Sport in Paris are important stepping stones to success."

Just like last year the rally season for Franz Wittmann starts in Monte Carlo. The IRC rookie caused a stir last year by being top-ten until the "Night of the Long Knives". There he unfortunately had to retire due to a technical defect through no fault of his own. Therefore the Lower Austrian still has an account to settle with the Col de Turini.

Wittmann: "I won't let this be taken away from me this year. This is the kind of special stage one looks forward to during a whole year. These are 20 kilometres that demand everything of you. But you nevertheless savour each metre on this course."

This year, Klaus Wicha will take place in the co-driver's seat. The 49- year-old German already looks back on a very successful career. Among others he navigated Andreas Aigner to the World Championship title in the P-WRC in 2008.

While the premiere in Monte Carlo has been affixed one is yet undecided in the Interwetten Racing Team concerning the further assignments. Seven to eight IRC runs in Europe have been planned. But there is also the possibility of competing in the two runs in Brazil and Argentina which would mean two runs less in Europe. The seven best results of the year count for the IRC ranking.

The "78th Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo 2010" will commence on January 19 at 17.00 in Valence with an eight kilometres long prologue. Its main objective is to decide the starting order. 15 special stages with a length of 405,1 kilometres are scheduled until the crossing of the finishing line on January 23 at 1.15 in the morning in Monte Carlo. The overall length measures 1.669,56 kilometres since the rally leads from Valence to the almost 400 km distant Monaco. "The Night of the Long Knives" will, of course, once more be the highlight of the rally. Thereby the special stages "Peira Cava - La Bollene Vesuble", better known as Col de Turini, and "Lantosque - Luceram" will be completed twice during the night from Friday on Saturday.


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Series Other rally
Drivers Carlos Sainz , Walter Rohrl , Juha Kankkunen , Ari Vatanen , Klaus Wicha , Andreas Aigner