Ireland wins place in World Rally Championship The World Rally Championship (WRC) is coming to Ireland for the first time ever with the announcement today in Paris that Rally Ireland has successfully secured a place in the WRC calendar from...
Ireland wins place in World Rally Championship
The World Rally Championship (WRC) is coming to Ireland for the first time ever with the announcement today in Paris that Rally Ireland has successfully secured a place in the WRC calendar from the 2007/2008 season.
The first Rally Ireland WRC will take place from November 18th - 20th 2007, and is set to become the largest sporting initiative ever undertaken on the island of Ireland.
Max Mosley, president of motorsport's world governing body the Federation International de l'Automobile (FIA) was full of praise for the Irish event: "We are pleased to welcome Ireland to the FIA World Rally Championship. Your team worked hard in their bid and set very high standards. Rally Ireland will bring many new and unique features to the championship including being the first round to run competitive stages cross border."
Sponsored by FÃ¡ilte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Events Company, Rally Ireland's entry into the WRC has been the culmination of 18 months work by the team, and their sponsors.
Speaking of the success, Minister of Arts, Sport & Tourism, John O'Donoghue TD said: "This is a wonderful success for Irish motorsport and Irish sport in general and all the more so as it is a cross-border initiative. The WRC has an annual TV viewership of more than 800 million, so the images of Ireland shown abroad will be of great benefit to the tourism industry."
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt. Hon. Peter Hain MP was similarly delighted with the impact that the WRC will make: â^a^ØAs a motorsport fan, I am delighted with this decision made by Max Mosley and the FIA. Having seen at close hand the impact that Rally Ireland has made to date, I am excited by what hosting a full WRC round will be able to contribute to the economy and the development of social cohesion."
Research commissioned by Rally Ireland in 2006 found that the WRC could be worth more than 46 million each year, generated from spend by spectators, as well as the international media coverage from the event.
The WRC is run on all types of surfaces - snow, gravel, tarmac and ice. The season has 16 rounds and begins with the historic Monte Carlo rally. The championship visits countries as diverse as Argentina, New Zealand, Japan and Sweden. The current world champion is Frenchman Sebastien Loeb who drives a Citroen Xsara. The WRC has one of the fastest growing TV audiences, with an annual viewership of more than 800 million in almost 200 countries.
Rally Ireland was founded by Ronan Morgan and Sean O'Connor, who have almost 35 years WRC experience between them. Dubliner Ronan Morgan, a former championship-winning co-driver rallied for more than 20 years, and was the event Director of Wales Rally GB before starting the Irish bid. Wicklow-based Sen O'Connor has worked since 1991 in the World Championship as a sponsorship and marketing consultant and has managed a number of top International drivers.