Alex Sinclair confident EU insurance row will be solved

Motorsport Ireland chief executive Alex Sinclair is confident that a ruling from the European Court of Justice - which has the potential to have detrimental effects for motorsport across the EU - will be amended.

The governing body as well as Mondello Park has been aware of the Vnuk Insurance ruling from the European Court of Justice for a number of months.

According to a statement from Mondello park, the Vnuk judgment from the European Court of Justice in September 2014 reinterprets the EU Motor Insurance Directive and requires all EU member states to make unlimited third party motor insurance compulsory for all vehicles wherever they are used.

The scope of most EU mandatory motor insurance referred to use being on a “public place or road” and had a clearly defined extent of “vehicles” and their “use”.

The insurance industry has stated that “participant” to “participant” unlimited liability cover is uninsurable and won’t be available.

Motorsport in the EU currently provides over 100,000 jobs and generates €25 billion in revenue. In a Motorsport Ireland context the governing body has over 300 licensed events annually across a wide spectrum of the sport through its affiliated clubs.

The Mondello Park statement claims that the European Commission recognises the need for the amendment to the Insurance Directive to address this issue and is shortly to produce a road-map that clearly outlines their plan to approve and implement this amendment, which will exempt all motorsport in the EU.

Meetings have already taken place with Brian Hayes MEP, Eoghan Murphy TD and Alex Sinclair. The politicians understand the potential economic and social implications of this “Motor Insurance Directive” to both the Irish motorsport category and other sectors of industry if it is not amended.

Sinclair said, “It would effect everything, we have been in touch with the FIA as far back as last October. I’m hopeful that we will make some progress, however, the EU is complicated as there are three groups involved – the Council, the Commission and the Parliament. It is too soon to panic but it’s unhelpful.”

Meanwhile, with a National and Tarmac title under his belt from last season, Donegal’s Donagh Kelly was always intent on a limited programme of events for this season due to the expansion of his business interests.

His main goal is the Donegal International Rally in a fortnight and Sunday’s Rathkeale House Hotel Circuit of Munster Rally offers the perfect shakedown for the three-day event in his native county.

Welsh ace Steve Wood is the only other driver of a World Rally Car in the top ten.The remainder of the top 10 is almost the sole domain of Mk. 2 Escorts led by local hot-shoe Ed O’Callaghan (Escort), who has finished runner-up in the past.

Ballylickey’s Daniel Cronin (Mitsubishi) makes his first outing since he crashed the ex-Stephen McCann car in Abbeyleix.

Seeded at six, he is followed by the quartet of Adrian Hetherington, Paul Purtill, Ed Synan, and Sean Moran, all in Ford Escorts.

The event is the third round of the popular regional Top Part West Coast Rally Championship. The first of the day’s nine stages beginning at 10.44am.

Dubliner Andy O’Brien (22) has been selected as the Young Racing Driver of the Month for April. The Templeogue driver won both of the Tool Dynamics Supercar races at Mondello Park and netted a win a second place at Bishopscourt.

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