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Brake put on Circuit after West Cork called off

 

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Colin Turkington

Colin Turkington

Colin Turkington

The Circuit of Ireland has joined the ever-expanding list of sports events being called off because of the coronavirus.

Due to take place at Easter as part of the premier Irish Tarmac Championship, the Ulster Automobile Club, organisers of the event, announced last night it is being postponed "due to the global outbreak of COVID-19".

Event director Graeme Stewart said: "The team have been monitoring this situation on a daily basis and have decided, in line with guidelines issued by Motorsport UK, the Government and the Public Health Agency, it is in the best interests of public health to act now in order to reduce the spread of the virus and postpone the event."

He added: "We are actively pursuing an alternative date later in 2020."

The Circuit now joins this weekend's West Cork Rally, scheduled to be the second round of the Tarmac series, which was called off on Thursday.

But the organisers of the British Touring Car Championship, in which Ulsterman Colin Turkington hopes to challenge for a record fifth title, have indicated they intend to carry on - for the moment - with the planned opening round at Donington at the end of the month.

One of the few events worldwide which is taking place this weekend is Rally Mexico and halfway through the first full day Sebastien Ogier was in the lead in his Toyota Yaris.

He was eight seconds ahead of the Ford Fiesta of Teemu Suninen with Hyundai's Thierry Neuville a further four seconds back in third.

Neuville's Hyundai team-mate Ott Tanak led by 10 seconds after the first four stages but damaged rear suspension on stage five cost the reigning World champion over 40 seconds and he fell back to eighth.

Elfyn Evans, winner of Rally Sweden, was fifth in the second of the Toyotas.

Belfast Telegraph