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IRC motorsport development manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas praises Circuit of Ireland route

Jean-Pierre Nicolas IRC 2011

IRC motorsport development manager Jean-Pierre Nicolas has praised the organisers of the Circuit of Ireland Rally after completing his route survey this week.

The April 6-7 event makes its debut on the IRC calendar this year - ensuring the British Isles remain represented in the Eurosport-supported series after Rally of Scotland lost its backing, despite running one of the most popular events in the championship.

The Circuit of Ireland will be at the centre of the Titanic Festival Belfast, which marks 100 years since the Titanic set sail from the city.

Nicolas was delighted with the two-day route for the Circuit of Ireland, which will offer a traditional mix of some of the nation's toughest asphalt roads and the spectator-pleasing stage at the Titanic Super Special, which opens proceedings on Friday, April 6.

Nicolas said: "We are delighted to welcome the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally to the IRC family. Drivers competing in the IRC are always keen for a new challenge and having driven the stages I can assure them a challenge is exactly what they will get.

"The Easter weekend tarmac stages through the beautiful Irish countryside are incredibly demanding. Several narrow roads, bumpy tarmac with ever changing conditions will ensure excitement and adrenaline levels will be running high at every corner.

"The breathtaking backdrop of Counties Armagh, Down and Antrim will certainly not disappoint rally fans around the world, who are set to travel to Ireland to experience this new and truly exhilarating round of the IRC.

"Ever since the IRC's inception in 2007 it has been our objective to showcase new events and cities but to also join forces with established rallies with a strong reputation, entry list and following. The Circuit of Ireland Rally is steeped in tradition and we are delighted to be playing a pivotal role in the Titanic Festival in Belfast."

Among the top Irish drivers that will do battle with current IRC stars this year will be Donagh Kelly, who is backed by event sponsor Donnelly Group, Jonny Greer, SWRC points leader Craig Breen, Robert Barrable, Mark Donnelly, and Alastair Fisher.

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