Karting conflict continues

THE conflict between Motorsport Ireland and Kart Ireland continues, with the latter claiming one of the five karting venues have nailed their colours to the mast of the governing body by agreeing to host three events – two championships races and the C Plate races – organised by the Irish Karting Club (IKC).

The composition of a karting committee comprising representatives of Motorsport Ireland and Kart Ireland almost brought an end to the dispute until the former, according to Kart Ireland, reneged on the deal. The intervention by the track owners was seen as a positive step but the composition of a new karting committee that was to have two representatives from Motorsport Ireland, two from Kart Ireland and one from the track owners, didn’t curry favour with the governing body.

Part of Motorsport Ireland’s 16-point plan for karting includes a reduction in costs that will see an entry fee of €95 per entry with the Competitors Personal Accident insurance provided free of charge. Kart Ireland views this as a subsidy and wonders what other spectrums of the sport, such as rallying, feel about this arrangement.

Mr Sinclair stated this was a collective decision and a policy of the Motorsport Commission in their bid to improve karting. Meanwhile, he would not reveal if the governing body had made any arrangement with the owners of the White River track: “Motorsport Ireland knows where we are going, when the time is right, we will announce details.” He added that it was commercially sensitive.

On whether the issue is harming the sport, he added: “The people who have decided to walk away from a structure that they were part of, have caused great damage and have questions to be answer.”

Another part in the plan states an arrangement with a minimum of two circuit owners will be put in place. Interestingly, there is speculation that Nutt’s Corner in Northern Ireland could host MI sanctioned events this season and that, along with the White River venue, will allow MI run their championships. Kart Ireland could secure the support of the other four tracks in Athboy, Kilkenny, Cork and Galway, to agreeing a sponsorship deal for television coverage of their events.

According to sources in Autosport it appears the Mini World Rally Team has confirmed its entry in the 2012 World Rally Championship. The British outfit missed the original deadline on December 19 last but have since been involved in discussions with the FIA.

In the meantime, the entry list for the Monte Carlo Rally revealed that Irish pair of Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle, who campaigned the number 52 car last year, were not on the 89-strong entry – instead, the car will be driven by Frenchman, Pierre Campana, who is paying for the privilege.

It remains to be seen how the situation develops. Apparently, relations between BMW in Munich and Prodrive, the Banbury-based team which developed and runs the factory Mini John Cooper Works WRCs are somewhat delicate.

Yesterday, Citroen announced the appointment of Yves Matton as its new team principal. He takes over from Olivier Quesnel in its World Rally Championship team. The future of many of Citroen’s regional championships was very uncertain, however, Matton’s immediate appointment should pave the way for relevant announcements. The Irish Citroen C2R2 should be given the green light with the series kicking off on the West Cork Rally.

Entries for the Galway International Rally have passed the 80 mark with a further surge expected next week. The event is the opening round of the Irish Tarmac series and has 50% bonus points on offer.

Meanwhile, Kerry’s, Thomas Fitzmaurice could debut the ex-Valentino Rossi/Patrick Elliott Subaru S11 WRC in the Galway event, he has targeted a full campaign in the Dunlop National Rally series that begins in Abbeyleix at the end of February.

Domestic action this weekend is confined to tomorrow’s Motor Enthusiasts’ Club’s Sporting Trial at Newtown Boswell near Ashford and Sunday’s Midland Autotest, a round of the Hewison series at the Mastertech Business Park in Longford.

Plans by the Cork Motorcycle Racing and Vintage Club for their Monster Motor Cycle Show on February 19 at the Moran Silver Springs Hotel, Cork are well underway. Enquiries to Derek Wilson on 086/2794224.

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