World Championship ace set to make guest appearance

World Rally Championship star Richard Burns is to compete in the first ever International Rally Masters at Punchestown Racecourse in Ireland on July 28

World Championship ace set to make guest appearance

The winner of nine world championship rallies, and the title runner-up for the past two seasons, will contest the event in a Subaru Impreza WRC2001.

Event director Ronan Morgan said: "This is fantastic news. Richard is one of the biggest names in world rallying and on July 28 he will be here, in Ireland, competing against Ireland's best drivers.

"The Subaru World Rally Team has one of the most impressive set-ups on the World Championship scene. Well done to Subaru Ireland for organising to bring the team over and for giving Irish rally followers the chance to see a world team in action."

While Burns is set to be the star of the event he will face strong opposition from two of Ireland's biggest rallying names - Andrew Nesbitt and Austin McHale.

Nesbitt, the current Irish tarmac Champion, was the winner a test event held at Punchestown last month and will be keen to repeat this performance in front of the factory Subaru team in his Subaru Ireland Impreza WRC. Five times Irish rally champion McHale will also be aiming to beat the World Championship visitor in front of the anticipated record crowd expected to flock to the Naas venue.

Driving a Toyota Corolla WRC, the Rathcoole contractor will play a major part in the event as he carries out resurfacing work on the 4km stage.

Run on the services track around the county Kildare racecourse, the 40 invited crews will complete six runs, three run in each directions, over the fast asphalt stage. With growing international interest in the event the organisers are hoping to confirm more high profile entries in the coming weeks.

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