Belfast key host for Circuit of Ireland

Published Wednesday, 18 December 2013
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The ceremonial start and finish of the 2014 Circuit of Ireland Rally will be held in Belfast, organisers have confirmed.

Belfast key host for Circuit of Ireland
Máirtín Ó Muilleoir with Bobby Willis (l) and Pirelli driver Daniel McKenna (r). (© Presseye)

The event - the first tarmac rally on the European Rally Championship calendar - is expected to attract thousands of spectators and more than 10 million television viewers around the world.

"There are very few rallies in the world that get the opportunity to base themselves in a capital city," Circuit of Ireland Event Director Bobby Willis said.

"The Circuit of Ireland has been hailed as a flagship event among the 12 rallies of the European Rally Championship, so I'm sure Belfast is set to feature as a highlight in this top international series."

Belfast is continuing to grow in stature as one of the world's premier sporting venues.

Belfast Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir

The rally's ceremonial start will be held on Thursday 17 April, with the 230km two-day race proper getting underway the next day and finishing back in Belfast on the Saturday evening.

The event is expected to generate more than £1m for the local economy.

"It's fantastic to welcome another high profile sporting event to the city," Belfast Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said.

"We hosted the World Police and Fire Games in the summer of 2013, attracting visitors from all corners of the globe.

"With the circuit of Ireland on its way, as well as the Giro d 'Italia, 2014 looks set to be another bumper year for sport and attracting increased tourism to Belfast."

FIA European Rally Championship 2014 Calendar

  1. 31 Int. Jännerrallye, Oberösterreich (Austria) - Asphalt/snow - 3-5 January 2014
  2. Rally Liepaja (Latvia) - Gravel/snow - 31 January-2 February 2014
  3. Sibiu Rally (Romania) - Gravel/snow - 27 February-1 March 2014
  4. Acropolis Rally (Greece) - Asphalt/gravel - 28-30 March 2014
  5. Circuit of Ireland Rally - Asphalt - 17-19 April 2014
  6. 49th SATA Rallye Açores (Portugal) - Gravel - 15-17 May 2014
  7. Geko Ypres Rally (Belgium) - Asphalt - 19-21 June 2014
  8. auto24 Rally Estonia (Estonia) - Gravel - 17-19 July 2014
  9. Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic) - Asphalt - 29-31 August 2014
  10. Cyprus Rally (Cyprus) - Asphalt/gravel - 19-21 September 2014
  11. Rallye International du Valais (Switzerland) - Asphalt/gravel - 23-25 October 2014
  12. Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse (France) - Asphalt - 6-8 November 2014
© UTV News
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