Belfast Telegraph

Circuit of Ireland International Rally called off due to lack of funding

By Michael McHugh

The world renowned Circuit of Ireland International Rally will not take place in 2013 because of lack of funding.

Update: Circuit of Ireland Rally will go ahead next year

Rally director Bobby Willis said it was a difficult decision to call the motor racing event off, but he was no longer willing to "play Russian roulette" with his own money.

"This is an extremely painful judgment for me to make and one that I do not enter into lightly," he said.

He publicly expressed concern in October over funding for the 2013 Rally.

"We have received significant backing from Government, but we were falling short of our full funding requirements and given the delay this has imposed it is now impossible to organise an international sporting event in less than three months," he said.

It follows the "incredible success" of last year's Easter weekend event and its inclusion in the International Rally Challenge (IRC) series, which delivered a global audience of nearly nine million via Eurosport.

The event had also been provisionally named in the 2013 FIA European Rally Championship calendar.

Mr Willis added: "Over the last three years I have invested my own money and resources into getting the rally up and running in the hope that funding would materialise before the event.

"I am no longer willing to play Russian roulette with my own finances in order to safeguard a rally that has worldwide appeal, even though it is so close to my heart."

Belfast Telegraph

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