Three Months and counting. Rally Ireland officially launched News Picture Rally Ireland 2009 was launched today in Sligo by Dr. Jimmy Devins, T.D., Minister of State for Science and Innovation, Brian Smart, Director of Department Culture, Arts and...
Three Months and counting. Rally Ireland officially launched News Picture Rally Ireland 2009 was launched today in Sligo by Dr. Jimmy Devins, T.D., Minister of State for Science and Innovation, Brian Smart, Director of Department Culture, Arts and Leisure Events Unit, Shane Filan from Westlife and World Rally Championship driver and Donegal native Shaun Gallagher.
The sport's governing body, the FIA, has bestowed Ireland with the honor of marking the start of the 2009 WRC season. It is the first time in almost 30 years that the beginning of the World Rally Championship (WRC) has been held outside of Monte Carlo, the traditional starting point for each WRC season.
Rally Ireland 2009 will take place between the 29th January and the 1st February with 18 stages taking place through seven counties in the North West; Cavan, Leitrim, Fermanagh, Tyrone, Sligo, Donegal and Roscommon.
At the launch Dr. Jimmy Devins, T.D., Minister for State for Science and Innovation, who is a native of Sligo, hailed the event's return to the North West; "2007's Rally Ireland was seen by more than 62 million people in over 180 countries worldwide. The potential for the North West to position itself, as a major tourist destination through this level of coverage is very significant. Rally Ireland 2007 was a huge success due to the organsiers, the local community here and the thousands of fans who witnessed this tremendous sport. I have every confidence that Rally Ireland 2009 will be another major success."
Chairman of Failte Ireland North West, Mr Paschal Mooney said; "We are delighted to host the World Rally Championships in January 2009 and to have rally headquarters here in Sligo City. We can assure all visitors that they will have the experience of their lives and we hope they will share the joys and memories of their visit here with their loved ones when they go home. The North West has largely been untouched by mass tourism and her beauty spots remain intact. In recent years, we have seen major investment in tourism products and the range of accommodation and facilities available to the visitor is second to none," concluded Mr Mooney.
"Rally Ireland 2007 was a huge success in showcasing Northern Ireland internationally. Once again we are delighted to be involved in what is a world class event in a thrilling sport, that will give spectators North and South of the border the opportunity to see the worlds best drivers first hand," said Brian Smart, Director of Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Events Northern Ireland.
John Naylor, Event Director for Rally Ireland; "The success of Rally Ireland 2007 was recognized by the WRC when we were given the honour of hosting the opening round of the 2009 Championship. Across the region festivals are been organsed and this event will once again provide fans with the opportunity to see the world's top rally drivers battling the testing stages in the North West and all for free."
January 29th marks the ceremonial start of Rally Ireland 2009, which takes place in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. The Rally proper will begin the following morning with the first stage taking place in Cavan. Rally Ireland will then run through six more counties before finishing with the last stage in Donegal Town on Sunday. The final stage will be broadcast to a live global TV audience. The Service Park will be based in Sligo IT, while Rally HQ will be in the Clarion Hotel in Sligo town.
In 2007 Rally Ireland attracted 250,000 spectators, generated €48million in economic benefit to the region and was viewed in over 180 countries by in excess of 62million people. Rally Ireland was given international acclaim by the WRC who declared the event as the second best round of the World Rally Championship in 2007.
Rally Ireland is run by Motorsport Ireland in conjunction with the Association of Northern Ireland Car Clubs (ANICC) with sponsorship from Failte Ireland and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL). The 2009 World Rally Championship will be run in 12 rounds across the world and will reach a global TV audience of over 800million.