Circuit of Ireland bosses aim to bring rally 'back to life' as IRC round
|By David Evans||Friday, January 27th 2012, 09:48 GMT|
Circuit of Ireland Rally director Bobby Willis has vowed to bring Ireland's oldest and most famous motorsport event back to life when it runs as an Intercontinental Rally Challenge round in April.
The April 6-7 event was officially launched in Belfast on Thursday, with confirmation that the rally will start with a stage around the shipyards from which the Titanic was launched 100 years ago in April.
After what's certain to be a huge crowd-pleaser in front of the famous Harland and Wolff cranes, the crews will face a further 15 stages centred around Armagh.
Willis said: "2012 will be the biggest and best Circuit of Ireland Rally in more than two decades as we continue to restore the event to its former glory. First and foremost, I want to thank both Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland who were visionary in realising the potential of this event and worked tirelessly to secure it.
"The Titanic Super Special Stage will be a feast for motorsport fans and families alike with some of the world's biggest rallying stars, including current IRC series champion, Norway's Andreas Mikkelsen, thrilling crowds on a stage that will be built beneath grandstands yards from where the Titanic was launched.
"Fans and families will have the opportunity to meet the drivers before a ceremonial start at Belfast City Hall and again in Lisburn and Armagh as we bring the Rally back to the people."
Only the Monte Carlo Rally has a longer history than the Circuit of Ireland, which ran for the first time in 1931, 20 years after the Monte started.