Published Thursday, 31 October 2013
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Last year the event hit funding problems and a smaller scale rally was snowed off.
However, this year organisers are celebrating a double boost with the announcement that the rally has been provisionally named as a stage in the European Rally Championships.
And if it gets the green light from the FIA, the event will be the only stage in the championships to be held in the UK and Ireland.
It is the first time in 20 years the rally, one of the oldest in the world, will feature as a stage on the European calendar.
Scheduled to take place during its traditional Easter weekend slot in April, the rally is being billed as one of the 2014 Championship's flagship events.
It will bring with it a host of rally's top drivers promising spectacular action.
The two-day rally is set to include some of Northern Ireland's top tourism landmarks in counties Down and Antrim as well as locations in Belfast.
Broadcast on Eurosport it is expected to attract an audience of millions as well as many thousands of spectators, participants and competitors.
Circuit of Ireland event director Bobby Willis said he was thrilled to see the event return.
He said: "The management team as well as our 700 plus volunteers are extremely proud and excited to be part of a new look European Rally Championship programme.
"The world's second oldest rally the Circuit of Ireland Rally has always attracted high profile competitors and our inclusion in the 2014 European programme will help draw some of the best in the sport to Northern Ireland."
The announcement of the rally's return comes as Northern Ireland hosts the opening stages of cycling's Giro d'Italia next year, which is estimated to provide a boost to local tourism
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said the return of the Circuit of Ireland was a "wonderful coup".
She added: "There is huge interest in this new series and the event will help raise the profile of Northern Ireland to TV audiences across Europe.
"Tourism Ireland will also be pulling out all the stops to capitalise on the opportunities that the rally will create.
"Tourism Ireland has ensured several stages of the event can be seen across Europe by Eurosport's viewers.
"As well as being able to watch high profile drivers battling it out, viewers will see the spectacular landscapes and beautiful scenery."
© UTV News