The 2016 Circuit of Ireland Rally will begin its competitive stages in Mid and East Antrim Borough on Friday 8th April.
Celebrating its 85th year in 2016, the Circuit is one of Northern Ireland‘s top five international sporting events and last year attracted a global audience of 40 million television viewers as well as almost 80,000 spectators – many from overseas.
On Friday April 8, the first competitive stage of the Circuit will get underway close to Larne, moving to the next stage near Ballymena and then onwards to the North Coast. Ballymena town centre Showgrounds will host an all-important refuel stop at the Showgrounds venue. These first two crucial stages will set the scene for a packed day of rallying culminating in the Ards Town Centre Stage on Friday evening. With a fast filling entry list the 85th Circuit is has attracted huge interest from teams and competitors across the globe.
Competitors vying for the title are expected to include European champion Kajetan Kajetanowicz, Welsh driver Elfyn Evans and Finnish competitor Max Vatanen, son of rallying legend Ari Vatanen. Top French driver Robert Consani as well as local stars Keith Cronin and Alastair Fisher are also set to be on the entry list. Waterford driver Craig Breen, who has two World Rally Championship class titles to his name, aims to return to defend his Circuit title and will be competing with PH Sport Citroen.
This 85th commemorative year for the Circuit of Ireland Rally’s allows the event to further expand and develop its huge international status. The Circuit is part of the prestigious FIA European Rally Championship, the British Rally Championship, the Irish Tarmac Championship series as well as a counting round of the Northern Ireland Rally Championship.
The Rally will take place across County Antrim, County Down and Belfast from 7th – 9th April.
For full details on this year’s Circuit of Ireland Rally, visit www.circuitofireland.net .