Irish motorsport is facing an uncertain future as it appears the governing body, Motorsport Ireland is awaiting to see how the government's Covid-19 restrictions will shape the forthcoming season.
It also seems that many of its affiliated clubs have concerns about the new affiliation agreement issued by MI, who have suspended the 2021 dates application from the clubs.
The Mayo Rally in early March was the last event to have taken place on closed roads this year and it’s unclear from sources within Motorsport Ireland when the next event will or can be held.
Obviously, the governing body has been denied the revenue streams from rallies while it appears some clubs are still awaiting refunds for the current season. MI were unable to confirm to the Irish Examiner how many competitors had applied for competition licences in 2020, recently, their French counterpart, the FFSA, have credited 2021 licences to those that purchased but were unable to use their 2020 licence.
A strong Irish contingent competes in Rally Islas Canarias that brings the curtain down on a very condensed European Rally Championship that was reduced to just five rounds due to the global pandemic. Craig Breen in his MRF Tyres Hyundai i20 R5 heads a quintet of Irish drivers. The Waterford ace was in line to secure a first ERC podium of the season until he retired from second spot in Rally Hungary with engine failure. His ERC campaign is all about developing the MRF tyre and he was buoyed with his pace in Hungary that saw him punch in two fastest stage times.
Series leader and triple event winner Alexey Lukyanuk (Citroen C3 R5) along with Oliver Solberg (VW Polo Gti R5) and Andreas Mikkelsen (Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) provide strong opposition over today’s (Friday) first leg of nine stages with eight more on Saturday. Solberg and his Northern Ireland co-driver Aaron Johnston are chasing the overall championship title and the ERC1 Junior crown. Derry duo Callum Devine and Josh McErlean, both in Hyundai i20 R5’s will be seeking to end the season on a high note. Reigning Irish forest champion Cathan McCourt (Ford Fiesta R5) and Paraic Duffy (Hyundai i20 R5) complete the Irish challenge.