Circuit of Ireland Rally now likely to go ahead
By John Kenny
Contrary to reports this morning, it seems likely that there will be a Circuit of Ireland Rally in 2013, although the historic event will not be part of the new Eurosport-backed European Rally Championship as had been recently proposed.
Bobby Willis, the event director for the 2012 event, said in a statement this morning that the rally would not run as an International event in 2013.
However the Ulster Automobile Club (UAC), which owns the naming rights to the Circuit of Ireland, has released its own statement stressing "that this decision only affects the International section of the rally".
The UAC added that the "Circuit of Ireland will run, as it has for many years in conjunction with the International Rally, as a National rally and we will deliver the same high standard of event that has been seen in recent years".
The 2012 Circuit of Ireland was part of the Intercontental Rally Challenge (IRC) but that series has now amalgamated with the European Rally Championship to create one series in 2013.
The 2013 Circuit of Ireland will revert to being solely a round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship (ITRC).
Rally Director Bobby Willis stated earlier that a lack of funding meant the event was impossible to stage.
He said: "This is an extremely painful judgement for me to make and one that I do not enter into lightly.
"I had publicly expressed concern in October over funding for the 2013 Rally.
"We have received significant backing from Government but we were falling short of our full funding requirements and given the delay this has imposed it is now impossible to organise an international sporting event in less than three months."