Return route for motorsport takes shape

Return route for motorsport takes shape
Reigning Irish Tarmac Rally champions Craig Breen/Paul Nagle (Ford Fiesta R5) on their way to victory in last year's Wastewater Solutions Easter Rally in Antrim. Picture: Martin Walsh.

Irish motorsport is gearing up for what will be a truncated return with circuit racing first into action with a behind closed doors event in Mondello Park on the weekend of July 25.

Rallying will have to wait until September 5 with the Volkswagen Wexford Rally marking the return to that branch of the sport since the Mayo Rally in March.

The situation around rallying, by far the most popular branch of the sport, remains very fluid.

Motorsport Ireland’s own ‘Return to Sport Expert Group’ signed off on their plan Friday and are awaiting a response. A meeting of Motorsport Ireland affiliated clubs is being planned where it is hoped a clearer picture will emerge.

One event that is not going ahead is the CBtoolhire.com Cork ‘20’ Rally that was scheduled for September 26/27. Following a recent meeting of the club’s directors, the decision to cancel was taken after a lengthy discussion.

In a statement that is being released today, the decision to cancel was based on protecting the goodwill of the residents along the rally route; engagement with residents (PR) prior to the event without placing any person at risk; addressing how to cope with groups of people congregating in remote areas and the safety of residents, competitors, marshals, officials and spectators.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Wexford club stated, as of earlier this week no extensive soundings of residents had taken place, the club source added that their title sponsor is keen for the rally to go ahead.

In recent days the Killarney and District Car Club announced a change of date for the Killarney Historic Rally that is now listed for November 28 instead of December 5.

Like many other clubs, in particular those scheduled to run events in later months, they will watch what happens in Wexford. With some Irish competitors looking at events such as the Ypres Rally in Belgium, two of the country’s most prominent drivers Waterford’s Craig Breen and Derry’s Callum Devine will compete in next month’s Rally di Roma Capitale, the first of the revised seven-round European Rally Championship (ERC).

Both will be in Hyundai i20 R5’s. Breen was due to take part with the Korean outfit on Rally Finland, a round of the World Rally Championship but that was cancelled.

A revised WRC calendar has yet to be published.

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