Kris Meeke and Craig Breen dejected after Circuit axe
Kris Meeke and Craig Breen, who are preparing to begin Rally Finland tonight, have both expressed their disappointment that there will be no Circuit of Ireland next year.
Meeke has been a strong supporter of moves to have the Circuit included in the World championship and said he was "sad" to hear it has had to be called off because of uncertainty over future funding.
Breen, who makes his second appearance alongside Meeke in the Abu Dhabi Citroen team in Finland, has won the Circuit for the past two years and says he is "desperately disappointed" that one of his favourite rallies will not be taking place.
He has more immediate concerns, however.
His Citroen DS3 sustained considerable damage when he crashed during testing earlier this week, which meant the team faced a hectic re-build programme to have it ready for this morning's shakedown stage.
Things have been smoother for Meeke as he re-joins the World championship for the first time since he won Rally Portugal back in May.
In the interim period the Dungannon driver has been concentrating on the continued development of Citroen's all-new C3 car for 2017 but says he is "hungry for competition and looking forward to getting back to business".
Meeke revels in Finland's roller-coaster gravel roads and, having led the rally in the past, there are high expectations he will lead the challenge to the championship-leading Volkswagens of Sebastien Ogier, Andreas Mikkelsen and last year's winner Jari-Matti Latvala.
In action, too, is Fermanagh driver Jon Armstrong who drives a little Ford Fiesta in the DMACK Trophy series. He won the previous round in Poland.