IRC: BFGoodrich Madeira preview

Volanic action for BFGoodrich Following the two recent visits to the plains and forests of northern Europe, the Intercontinental Rally Challenge heads back to the Atlantic Ocean, the destination this time being volcanic Madeira for the Rali Vinho ...

IRC: BFGoodrich Madeira preview

Volanic action for BFGoodrich

Following the two recent visits to the plains and forests of northern Europe, the Intercontinental Rally Challenge heads back to the Atlantic Ocean, the destination this time being volcanic Madeira for the Rali Vinho Madeira. The sixth round of the 2008 IRC will feature the Portuguese island's usual steep and twisty roads divided into 21 challenging stages, as well as a strong chance of unsettled weather. BFGoodrich runners will have four variants of the g-Force Profiler available to help them cope with whatever conditions they encounter.

The American tyre brand BFGoodrich owes a great deal to Madeira: it was on the Portuguese island that a certain Christopher married Felipa, daughter of the celebrated seaman and explorer Bartolomeu Perestrelo whose preciously kept charts would later serve to help his son-in-law discover... America!

Today, BFGoodrich tyres are as famous as their home continent, at least by drivers contesting the IRC. They know that the g-Force Profiler range promises to be a key ally in their bid to conquer the Atlantic island's asphalt stages.

"Like all events that use twisty mountain roads on aggressive asphalt, the Rali Vinho Madeira is extremely tough on tyres," says BFGoodrich's IRC programme manager Jacques Morelli."

"The roads call for hard uphill acceleration, heavy braking and constant hard cornering which exposes the tyres to huge longitudinal and lateral constraints. They rarely get a chance to rest."

Tyre management consequently promises to be a decisive factor in Madeira as the drivers do their best to refrain from putting too much heat into their rubber

Weather is likely to be another key parameter. Madeira's subtropical climate gives mild temperatures all year round, but when the Trade Winds and the infamous Azores Anticyclone join forces, sudden downpours can break out anywhere on the island, especially over the higher ground.

"It can often be raining on the peaks while you're enjoying beautiful sunshine by the coast. This made tyre choices very difficult last year," recalls Jacques Morelli. "On the last leg, BFGoodrich had a clear advantage over its rivals thanks to Giandomenico Basso and his Abarth Grande Punto."

After the all-gravel Rally Russia, which saw Flying Finns finish first and second, Madeira marks the IRC's return to sealed surface competition and the series will stay on asphalt until November. It consequently looks as though the 2008 title will be played out among the asphalt specialists.

Luca Rossetti returns to the IRC for the Rali Vinho Madeira which his fellow Italian Basso will be looking to win for the third year running. The event also counts towards the Portuguese Championship and the speed and experience of the series' main players, including Bruno Magalhaes, is no secret.


g-Force Profiler A03
Size: 225/40-18
Compound: soft
Use: dry or damp asphalt, low temperatures

g-Force Profiler A10
Size: 225/40-18
Compound: hard
Use: dry asphalt, medium or high temperatures

g-Force Profiler M01
Size: 225/40-18
Compound: soft
Use: damp or wet asphalt

g-Force Profiler W00
Size: 225/40-18
Compound: soft
Use: damp or wet asphalt



...via Clermont-Ferrand. As soon as they returned from Russia, the two BFGoodrich semitrailers were emptied of their remaining g-Force Gravel tyres and loaded with 1300 g-Force Profilers for Madeira. They set off for Portimao, then Funchal.


Bruno Magalhaes (Peugeot Portugal- BFGoodrich) has won every one of eight-round calendar's four events contested to date. The Peugeot 207 S2000 has already won the Rali Torrie, the Rali do Porto, the Vodafone Rally de Portugal (which also counted towards the IRC) and the recent Sata Rali Acores. Magalhaes is also a major contender for victory in Madeira where he finished second in 2007


The seventh round of the 2008 IRC will be based in Oviedo (Spain), the home town of Fernando Alonso. This new event, which will be counting towards the Intercontinental Rally Challenge for the first time, features 15 stages totalling 249.77km. The long first leg starts at 6.45am on Friday September 12 and ends at 10.30pm!


The 2009 Intercontinental Rally Challenge will kick off with the famous Monte Carlo Rally. The organisers have profited from the fact that they do not have to run a WRC format to return to the values that helped forge their event's legend. The route extends from Monaco to France's Ardèche Mountains and marks the return of the celebrated night-time Turini loop. The events will start in Monaco on Wednesday January 21 with three stages en route to the first overnight halt in Valence. The following day includes six stages in the Ardèche region before returning to Monaco via a single stage on the morning of Friday January 23. The top 60 classified crews will be authorised to contest the four-stage Nuit du Turini which will start on Friday evening at 6.25pm before the official finish on the harbourside in Monaco at around 1am Saturday morning.


Following the turns of Miguel Campos and Patrick Snijers in Portugal and Belgium, the driver of the BFGoodrich Drivers Team Peugeot 207 S2000 on the Barum Rally Zlin (August 21- 23) will be Pavel Valousek. The fourth phase of this BFGoodrich-run operation will take place in Spain (Rally Principe de Asturias). The name of the chosen driver will be announced on August 23 and a test session will be organised on August 28 or 29.


The Czech carmaker is expected to contest next season's IRC with the new Fabia S2000 which is currently undergoing a busy test and development programme. Several drivers are sharing this work, including Sebastian Lindholm and Carlos Sainz. The Skoda Fabia S2000 was unveiled at the Bohemia Rally and could make its debut before the end of 2008.


BFGoodrich runners are dominating the 2008 European Championship to which Madeira counts as a qualifying round (round seven). Luca Rossetti still tops the points table, but the result of the recent Rally Bulgaria -- won by Donchev (Peugeot/BFGoodrich) -- saw the other main title contenders gain ground on the Italian. BFGoodrich runners Isik and Solowow will all be in Madeira.

-credit: bfgoodrich

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