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 Féderation 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 Fáilte 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: ‘As 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 EUR 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 Seán 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 Seán 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.
Italian Gigi Galli at Rally Italia WRC
Hi res version of photograph available at:
Issued on behalf of Rally Ireland by Heneghan PR
Nigel Heneghan/ Colleen Kenny
Tel: +353 1 660 7395
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Rally Ireland is a joint initiative of Fáilte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Events Company (NIEC) and is supported by both the Irish and British governments.
The World Rally Championship is one of the world’s most popular spectator sports, attracting live audiences of more than 11 million spectators over 16 rounds, and has a current (and growing) annual TV viewership of more than 802 million.
Research conducted by Rally Ireland found that the annual value of hosting a WRC round would be EUR46 million / £31.6 million.
Rally Ireland 2006 is one of six candidate countries seeking a place in the WRC 2007/2008 calendar. The other countries are Norway, Jordan, South Africa, Portugal and Poland.
Have to say this is great news for Ireland on so many levels, i.e. the economic benefits, the promotion of Irish tourism and of course for all us Rally fans we get to see the very best drivers in the world tackle Irish stages.
Great great news, congrats to everyone involved
Thank God. Ireland desevres something like this anyway.
This is great news. Cannot wait till November 2007
Fantastic news and it is great to hear that all those world class drivers and teams will be over here showing their stuff.
Great news that we got the round, even sweeter given that our stages are so unique. I mean, who can really tell what is the point of having Cyprus and Greece on the same calendar?
Great stuff. I was never really into the rally but ill take more interest now definately, Its exiting stuff. Now all we need is Mondello to become part of the f1 calender and well be laffin
Oh this is Fantastic news. Went to the Sardinia rally in May this was brilliant but now that it's coming home even better cool stuff!!
Anyone have any idea where/what the stage is going to comprise of?
i'd send an email to this address, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Cool, thanks Angels.