It’s Time For the WRC To Return To Ireland

  • wrblog

    Thanks for contributing, Jason, great read. I think you should visit Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary next, for rally events of course. I think you will find the same, if not better (worse?) kind of fan dedication in those countries. Countless entries, huge crowds, palpable passion, very similar to what you experienced in Ireland. Some countries really do live and breathe rally.

  • Awesome article Jason! IIRC the Ireland Rally was the season-opener of the 2009 WRC season, felt so odd during that time (as Monte was the classic opener), but it was a epic rally. Also Ireland ’07, with Grönholm smashing into the wall in his last attempt to win the WC. I normally don’t like rallies that are located too close together, for example Norwegian and the Swedish Rally, what kind of differences do you expect from two rallies located in Scandinavia in the month of Feb? They’re obviously both gonna be snow rallies, glad that the FIA realised that early enough with inlcuding stages in Norway for the Swedish Rally in the later editions. But Ireland differs so much from Wales Rally GB, that I would be pretty happy to see it back. Also where’s NZ and Acropolis!? A crime from the FIA to not bring these events back. This needs be investigated with immediate effect Sherlock! Sherlock: “No shit Watson”.

  • Stefan Walker

    Ireland is brilliant, in fact Barbadian rally fans have a fascination with Irish Rallying.. a country we have a big relationship with…In fact both Kenny Mckinstry and Kris Meeke won our Rally Barbados twice!

  • Leandro Brandi

    First, I agree with David: this is a great article. I also think that Ireland should be back in the WRC calendar.
    But when I start thinking about WRC’s current and utopic destinations I stop myself by telling me “OK, those places are great but you can’t have a 20 event calendar, this is WRC. There should be a criteria”. But which one should it be? Of course there are some events that have pretty much everything you need to be a WRC event (Monte, Catalunya, Finland, Argentina, etc.) but would you get enough of them to fill a WRC calendar? If not, which feature should be a priority? Roads and landscape? amount of rally fans and passion for the sport? organization aptitud? local rally championship level? geographical distribution in the calendar?

    I’ll keep struggling with those thoughts but I can tell you this: I’d always choose Ireland over Jordan.

  • Jason Anthony

    Thanks for the kind words everyone! Tom, I would love to see what the atmosphere is like on a rally in the Czech Republic… I always enjoy watching the highlights from that Barum Rally Zlin every year. That is another part of the world that deserves a rally… OK, right now there is an event in Poland, but those narrow tarmac stages such as Semetin in the Barum Rally are insane!

    I wonder if there should be a rotation of the European events between the ERC and the WRC. I think that would accomplish a few things. First, it would allow various countries and regions to enjoy the commerce and tourism that comes with hosting a WRC event, but it is rotated fairly over say a 2 or 3 year cycle. Secondly, it would give younger drivers competing in the ERC a chance to see stages and events that would be used in the WRC from time to time. So, perhaps out of 18 European events, 9 could be used in the WRC, and 9 used in the ERC, and every year they swap. I know… there is a lot to go into it, and it is really easy to throw out suggestions without having to worry about the logistics, but it’s an idea right?

    And even though Ireland isn’t on the WRC, it does have an ERC date, the Circuit of Ireland, and that is one spectacular rally as well!

  • Sean Mc Caffrey

    A great read and it goes to show how much we take for granted the Rallying scene over here.. Not until we read a blog like this from an overseas visitor do we become aware of the quality of car and crews we have here… I had a chance to talk to the newly elected president of Motorsport Ireland and put the question to him about the return of the WRC to Ireland.. Its about half way through the audio on the attachement..

    • Jason Anthony

      Sean, thanks so much for sharing this interview! It gave a lot of insight and provided a great edition to this topic. It’s cool to hear Mr. McKenna’s thoughts… he seems like a very level-headed and intelligent person to be taking the helm of motorsports in Ireland. I especially like his openness to new ideas… it seems like Irish motorsport is in good hands!

    • wrblog

      I’ll admit I often call for more “World” in WRC, meaning fewer events in Europe, but maybe I am looking for more diversity in character between events, instead of asking for mandatory event in Africa, Asia or South America. In that regard, I would love to see Ireland return to WRC, precisely because of the unique character it would bring. WRC could use one more asphalt event and it could really be Ireland, because Irish tarmac roads cannot be mistaken with those in Germany, Spain or France.

      This was a great listen and while I don’t have any sort of insider knowledge, I am pretty sure Ireland is high on the list of potential WRC candidates. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kieran

    I would just like to point out as a marshal of the first Rally Ireland and a life long fan of the sport, This event will never return to Ireland. In true Irish fashion the event was a shambles, the event was poorly organised: it was too spread out , It was held in the wrong part of the country (it should be held down south Cork / Kerry area where the stages are much better in my opinion.) and the money for the event was squandered.I believe a debt of around €200,000 is still outstanding after the events. the Marshalls were poorly treated (not fed or housed), Most people I know who took part in the event didn’t even return to spectate the second one.Bring it back by all means but let the people who run the most sucessful rallies run this e.g Rally of the Lakes ,West Cork,Donegal and let the big companies out of it.It should be a sporting event first and a business second, But knowing Ireland it’ll come back and history will repeat itself.

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