Entries for the 74th Circuit of Ireland Rally are now open.

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ENTRIES NOW OPEN FOR CIRCUIT OF IRELAND

Organisers believe the 135 capped entries will fill quickly following news of an 18 mile night-stage that will be run as part of the Easter rally extravaganza.

Dundalk will see the ceremonial start on Saturday 3 April before the rally moves on to 15 stages across counties Down, Armagh, Monaghan and Louth.

The Circuit plays host to a number of championships including the second round of the hotly contested Citroen Irish Tarmac Rally Championship

Don Wilmont, Citroën Irish Tarmac Rally Championship Manager, said:

“The Championship began earlier this month with the traditional season opener at the Safety Direct Galway International Rally.

“Gareth MacHale and co-driver Brian Murphy won the event in their Ford Focus WRC with a victory over the Ford Fiesta S2000 of Craig Breen and Gareth Roberts.

“Finishing third in their WRC Focus were Aaron MacHale and Eugene O’Donnell after seeing off a strong challenge with the overall Group N winners, Alistair Fisher and Rory Kennedy.

“All eyes will now shift to the round two of the championship at the Circuit of Ireland.”

The Circuit will also host the Hankook MSA NI Rally Championship, which begins the first of its ten rounds on Saturday (27 February) at Kirkistown Race Circuit with reigning champion Derek McGarrity in his Subaru S12B hoping to start the season as he finished the last.

Paul Biggerstaff, entries co-ordinator for the Circuit of Ireland and the Hankook MSA NI Championship, says there is a lot of excitement among drivers ahead of the Circuit of Ireland.

“The 18-mile night stage is a big talking point for those who are keen to compete. Rally competitors these days don’t get as much night time driving, especially not for such a long stage, so it will be very challenging.

“Drivers are excited by the new plans for the Circuit of Ireland’s future under new Rally Director Bobby Willis and I would encourage competitors to get their entries in soon at www.circuitofireland.net.”

Other championships that will be using the Circuit of Ireland stages include the Mitsubishi Ralliart Evolution Challenge, the Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland and the Fiesta Sporting Trophy.

Now boosting IRC Supporter Event status, in a major coup for the organisers of the world’s second oldest rally, the eyes of the rallying world will be on competitors and organisers this Easter weekend.

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

Sponsors of the Circuit of Ireland 2010 include Dundalk Chamber, Banbridge District Council, the Park Inn Hotel, Dundalk, KDM Hire, The Web Bureau and Kantar Media.