Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Ireland discovering rallying's new World order

Ireland will not stage a round of the World rally championship next year.

Under the two-year rotational system, Rally Ireland is not scheduled to return to the WRC series until 2011 but there had been strong speculation that the Sligo-based event might be included next year, replacing one of three new rounds which had question marks over them.

But the proposed 2010 calendar which will go before the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council next month, does not include Rally Ireland even though events originally planned for Russia and Indonesia have, as expected, dropped out.

Also missing is the Monte Carlo Rally which was replaced this year under the rotational system by Rally Ireland as the opening round in January.

It ran instead as part of the new Intercontinental Rally Challenge — currently led by Ulsterman Kris Meeke — and in a snub to the World championship, Monte Carlo officials have chosen to stay with the IRC.

Rally GB, another event not scheduled to take place next year, has been drafted in along with the events in Portugal and Finland to replace the drop-outs.

The possibility of Rally Ireland being included was always remote, especially considering the current economic climate on both sides of the border. It is funded by the Irish and Northern Ireland governments but there was little possibility they would sanction a re-run in 2010.

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