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  • Writer's pictureDrew Bentham

Motorsport Ireland Announce the location of WRC Ireland service park - live

Today at 11am, Motorsport Ireland will be announcing the home of the service park, should WRC Ireland get the go ahead for 2025.

Three locations - Limerick, Waterford and Tralee, in Kerry - were visited by WRC officials on Thursday and Friday last week. Ireland last hosted a WRC event in 2007 and 2009, with Sebastien Loeb winning both events during his reign at the top. The bid comes after a number of unsuccessful attempts to bring the WRC to Northern Ireland and the UK in recent years, although this bid seems to be gaining ground and cruitailly support from all the right parties. Four previous bids to bring rallying's premier series have failed, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent deadlines for funding with the lack of a devolved government at Stormont.

Simon Larkin, the WRC's event director had told BBC Sport in February that WRC officials were "100% behind" having Rally Northern Ireland on the 2024 calendar. However, with continued delays and a major problem with being able to secure the necessary governmental funding, attention has moved south for Rally Ireland to make a return to the calendar on what has been proposed as a three-year agreement, starting in 2025. All 3 locations have been previously proposed in the search for the ideal place to host the event, each needing 10,000sq M of space in a centralised area around which the stages could be held. In Limerick the service park, fan zone and facilities, could be held at Limerick Racecourse, The Institute of Technology Tralee in Kerry and a base in Waterford City are the other two locations bidding to host the WRC.

Aiden Harper, president of Motorsport Ireland, told RTE Sport applications had been made with the Irish government for funding and admitted if that did not come to fruition then the event would not take place.

Motorsport President, Aiden Harper
Motorsport President, Aiden Harper
"Our ask is quite simple. It's a 15m euro investment from the Government for a 300m euro return over three years which is a pretty strong business case.
The funding application is making its way through the various levels within Government right now and once we announce where the venue will actually be, that will host the service park, we will be hoping the local politicians, chambers of commerce and various people would assist us in the lobbying when it comes to guarantee the funding.
But all of this is predicated on getting the Government funding. We're well advanced in our plans when it comes to picking a venue, securing a venue etc, but if the funding does not become available, we won't have a World Rally Championship here in Ireland."

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