Motorsport Ireland chief Sinclair quits in rally row

ALEX SINCLAIR, the chief executive of Motorsport Ireland resigned yesterday in the midst of the dispute that has rocked Irish motorsport and threatens the future of rallying.

In office for some 20 years, Sinclair has also resigned his positions from the Motor Sport Commission, the executive council of Motorsport Ireland and the Irish Motorsport Federation Limited, of which he is a director.

A press release issued by the president of Motorsport Ireland, John Naylor stated Sinclair will remain until March 31, 2010 to assist in the administration of the sport in the interim.

Speaking last evening, John Naylor said: “I am very saddened, I wish to thank Alex for all that he has contributed to motorsport over the last 20 years and must say that he has acted in the most professional manner and with the utmost integrity at all times. He would be an asset to any organisation and will be sorely missed. I wish Alex and his family well for the future.”

The first hint of Sinclair’s resignation came yesterday in an email to James Coleman, chairman of the Rallies Committee, a committee who announced their resignation last week.

Coleman had responded to a request by the Motorsport Commission for a meeting on Monday night next where both the Commission and the Rallies Committee would be in attendance.

It appears that Coleman had made a number of suggestions in the email to Sinclair, who replied stating that he had no further part to play in the issue.

In the deepening stand-off that is threatening rallying events in 2010, Sinclair’s resignation has surprised many people. However, there could even be further resignations before the situations is sorted.

Meanwhile, how the ongoing developments will affect Ireland’s bid for the World Rally Championship in 2011 remains to be seen.

Recently, Motorsport Ireland went very public in backing Ari Vatanen to become president of the FIA.

However, Vatanen was well beaten by Jean Todt in the race for the top job in motorsport.

Naylor was set to become a vice-president if Vatanen was successful. Later, the Wicklow man gave a wide-ranging interview to RTÉ radio where he was critical of Todt.

Meanwhile, it appears that Rallies Committee will wait until some time today before deciding whether or not to attend Monday night’s meting in Dublin.

Sources indicate that an independent chairperson is being sought to the proceedings.

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