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Night stages set to return to the Circuit of Ireland Rally

February 23, 2010


A marathon 18 mile (29km) night-time stage will be the centrepiece of this Easter’s Circuit of Ireland Rally, as organisers today announced details of the 74th running of the world’s second oldest rally.

Thousands of rally fans will descend on Dundalk for the ceremonial start on Easter Saturday 3 April before the rally moves on to 9 stages in County Down, with a main rally base in Newry.

Saturday’s final, night-time, stage is sure to be a daunting proposal to the 135 car entry of the event.  Stages of this length are rarely seen in today’s rallying and this one is sure to create a buzz with competitors.

Easter Sunday will see a restart from Dundalk, with a 45 minute service break taking place in Newry, prior to six stages being run in the Castleblayney/Crossmaglen area.

The rally will consist of a total of 15 competitive stages.

Rally Director, Bobby Willis said:

“I’m sure the efforts of local traders in creating a carnival atmosphere around the start in Dundalk will be well supported.

“The feedback to the introduction of the night-time stages has already been immense and we seem to be on the right track in re-invigorating the enthusiasm for the Circuit that we will build on in future years”.

Outlining some of the activities that Dundalk traders plan for the start of the Circuit, Bill Tosh, Chief Executive of Dundalk Chamber said:

“We plan a party type atmosphere, to welcome the 135 cars and thousands of visitors to the centre of Dundalk, ahead of the start.

“From 11:00am on Easter Saturday we’ll have a host of activities in Market Square for all the family. From 11:30am cars and drivers will assemble in Earl’s Street where the public, fans and media can inspect the cars and meet the teams before the first car leaves the ramp outside the courthouse at 12:30 to signal the beginning of the Circuit of Ireland.”

Other backers for this year’s Circuit include Banbridge District Council, who recognise the significant economic benefits the rally brings to the local area, in terms of tourism expenditure. The town will play host to a regroup area, where the general public will be able to meet the drivers.

Elizabeth Ingram, Chairman of Banbridge District Council said:

“Banbridge District Council is delighted to support the Circuit of Ireland for the third year in succession and the town is ready to warmly welcome competitors and fans to the area.

“The rally brings economic benefits to the region through increased trade and bed-nights in the surrounding hotels.

“We’re looking forward to the night-time stages which will take place close to the town and will prove extremely popular. Our newly refurbished town centre Solitude Park will also make the perfect viewing gallery for spectators and participants alike.”

Bobby Willis is confident this year’s Circuit of Ireland is the first step in a long path in re-building pride, excitement and restoring the Circuit of Ireland on an international stage.

“When I took over the day-to-day management of the Circuit a few months ago we promised fans and competitors alike that we’d introduce new elements, as we aim to grow the rally over the coming years.

“Already we’ve secured Intercontinental Rally Championship (IRC) Supporter Event Status and I hope to secure funding to ensure that the Circuit of Ireland becomes a round of the IRC in the near future.

“Already the future looks bright for the biggest cross border sporting event in Ireland this year with more than 700 rally fans using Facebook and our web site to get the latest updates.”

Precise details surrounding the locations of each of the 15 stages will be available in the Circuit of Ireland programmes, which will be available for purchase at local retailers in the days leading up to the rally. A full list of retailers will be available at www.circuitofireland.net

Other sponsors of the Circuit of Ireland 2010 include the Park Inn Hotel, Dundalk; KDM Hire; The Web Bureau and Kantar Media.


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