Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Arlene Foster joined Circuit of Ireland Event Director Bobby Willis to mark four months exactly to the 2015 International Circuit of Ireland Rally, which kicks off with event qualifying on Thursday 2nd April and competitive rallying on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th April in counties Antrim and Down. Belfast’s iconic Titanic Quarter will once again host the Service Park and European Rally Championship HQ, media and competitor hub.
Event Director Bobby Willis paid tribute to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland for their ongoing contribution and support of the Circuit of Ireland:
“The 2014 Circuit generated over 10,000 bed nights for Northern Ireland with over one third of visitors travelling from outside Northern Ireland. The organising committee was delighted with its huge success attracting almost 74,000 spectators and we fully appreciate the financial contribution, expertise, advice and support delivered by Minister Foster, NITB and Tourism Ireland.
“Alongside other home grown events, the Circuit of Ireland is a significant economic driver for Northern Ireland and in 2014 the event punched well above its weight generating £1.5 million for the local economy. International media coverage also reached over 14 million people across five continents.”
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said:
“Following on from the success of last year’s event, the 2015 Circuit of Ireland Rally is once more set to provide a thrilling spectacle for motorsport fans.
“Billed as one of the ERC’s ‘flagship’ events, Europe’s best drivers will pit their skills on testing roads, set among the spectacular backdrops that Northern Ireland’s beautiful landscape provides. The ERC’s high profile ensures that Northern Ireland will be showcased as a tourist destination, not only to those rally fans travelling to witness our stunning scenery first-hand, but also to the many millions watching on television across Europe and the world. Indeed, last year saw over 14 million Eurosport viewers tuning in, presenting an opportunity to promote Northern Ireland’s tourism offering to a huge global audience.
“Sports travel plays a significant part in the wider tourism sector. Our increasingly strong reputation for hosting blue riband sporting events can only boost our ability to attract visitors and show what Northern Ireland has to offer.”
Also meeting Minister Foster were international rally drivers, Sam and Josh Moffett from Monaghan who both aim to enter the 2015 Circuit of Ireland when entries open early next year. A stage winner in the 2014 Circuit, twenty-five year old Sam brought his Ford Fiesta RRC, which saw action in the Circuit and in Galway, to Stormont Buildings and the brothers revealed that Josh (22) also plans to compete under the Fiesta banner in the 2015 European Rally Championship.
Sam, the 2011 winner of the Billy Coleman Award achieved a remarkable 15th place in this year’s WRC Rallye Deutschland in August, whilst brother Josh (22) secured 7th position overall in last April’s Circuit of Ireland Rally and has been shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Billy Coleman trophy. The accolade which rewards Ireland’s top Young Rally Driver of the Year will be announced on Wednesday 10th December.
Commenting on his experiences at last April’s Circuit of Ireland, Sam Moffett said, “It was one of the best rallies locally and provided competitors with a range of ‘top drawer’ driver stages. My all-time favourite stage was Hamilton’s Folly in the foothills of the Mournes. It had every challenge imaginable – from jumps to fast road surfaces and sharp corners. It was a long stage enjoyed by all the top European drivers as well as myself and Josh!
“I was really pleased with my performance at the Circuit and it was just unfortunate that I had to miss the last two stages due to car technical problems. But I was delighted that Josh and co-driver John Rowan clinched a top 10 position. We’ve a healthy rivalry and competing against each other helps us both to push ourselves to our limits , for erectile dysfunction treatment use tadacip . We’re both really looking forward to competing at a European and World level during 2015.”
The Circuit of Ireland Rally takes place from Thursday 2nd April until Saturday 4th April 2015 and will be the third of ten rounds in the 2015 European Rally Championship. The provisional ERC schedule of dates are due to be ratified on 3rd December in Qatar at a meeting of the FIA World Motorsport Council. The 2015 Circuit of Ireland will also be counting rounds of the 2015 Irish Tarmac Championship and the Northern Ireland Rally Championship.
Media contact: Rosemary Allister, JPR Tel 028 9076 0066 or mobile 07880 504928 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The provisional FIA European Rally Championship calendar for 2015 is as follows:
Round 1: Jännerrallye (Austria, asphalt/ice/snow): 4-6 January 2015
Round 2: Rally Liepāja (Latvia, gravel/ice/snow): 6-8 February 2015 (J)
Round 3: Circuit of Ireland Rally (Northern Ireland, asphalt): 2-4 April 2015 (J)
Round 4: SATA Rallye Açores (Portugal, gravel): 4-6 June 2015 (J)
Round 5: Geko Ypres Rally (Belgium, asphalt): 25-27 June 2015 (J)
Round 6: auto24 Rally Estonia (gravel): 17-19 July 2015 (J)*
Round 7: Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic, asphalt): 28-30 August 2015 (J)
Round 8: Cyprus Rally (gravel): 25-27 September 2015
Round 9; Rally of Greece (gravel): 9-11 October 2015*
Round 10: Giru di Corsica-Tour de Corse (France, asphalt): 5-7 November 2015
(J) Indicates FIA ERC Junior Championship round
*Subject to signing of ERC Promoter agreement
Pictured outside Parliament Buildings, Stormont are from left, star rally drivers Josh and Sam Moffett from Monaghan, Arlene Foster, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister and Bobby Willis, Event Director, Circuit of Ireland Rally.