Circuit of ireland rally

This article is about the event organised by the Ulster Automobile Club. For the newer Motorsport Ireland event, see Rally Ireland.

The Circuit of Ireland International Rally is an annual automobile rally, which was first held in 1931 making it the third oldest rally in the world. The most recent event was held in 2012.

The Circuit, as it is colloquially known, is organised by the Ulster Automobile Club and is traditionally held over the Easter holiday weekend. It normally starts and finishes in Northern Ireland, although the lengthy route of the event has typically included large segments in the Republic of Ireland as well. Most of the event's special stages are laid out on paved public roads that are closed to other traffic. In 2010, the event was awarded Intercontinental Rally Challenge Supporter Event status.[1] For 2012 the event will become round three of the 2012 Intercontinental Rally Challenge.[2]


The rally originated in 1931 as the Ulster Motor Rally. It was run from multiple starting points, in a manner similar to the Monte Carlo Rally. After several years in this format, it transitioned into a 1089-mile circuit, essentially following the Irish coastline and starting and finishing in Bangor, County Down. The Circuit was suspended during World War II (1939–1945), and again in 1948 due to fuel shortages. Further cancellations occurred in 1955, 1972, 2001 and 2007.

The 2007 Circuit of Ireland was cancelled as a result of continuing disputes between the organisers, the event operating company, and the sponsors. It was replaced by a series of smaller Easter holiday events arranged by the Ulster Automobile Club. These included the Easter International Rally, which was run over 12 special stages in Londonderry, Tyrone, and Donegal. In December 2012, it was announced the 2013 rally would be cancelled due to a lack of funds, but was subsequently reinstated at a reduced scale.[3][4]


The Circuit restarted again on the Easter weekend (21–23 March) in 2008. Twenty-eight teams competed on twenty special stages, with fourteen teams finishing. The overall winner was Eamonn Boland in a Subaru Impreza S12B.[5]


The 2009 event was run over the weekend of 11–12 April, starting in the town of Banbridge, County Down and finishing after 14 special stages in Dundalk. The overall winner was Eugene Donnelly in a Škoda Fabia WRC.[6]


In 2010, the event was run over the weekend 3–4 April and was based in Newry, Northern Ireland. There was a total of 15 stages including a 29 kilometres (18 mi) night stage. The event counted as a round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.[7] Derek McGarrity and co-driver James McKee won the rally in their Subaru Impreza S12B. Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus RS WRC) and Alastair Fisher/Marshall Clarke (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) finished second and third respectively.[8]


Year Driver Car
1931 Jimmy McCaherty Austin 16 Saloon
1932 William McMullan Alvis
1933 Stanley Orr Austin 7
1934 Wilnor Jones Standard 10
1935 Wesley Shaw Triumph
1936 Basil Clarke Austin 16
1937 Wesley Shaw Triumph
1938 Graham Chambers MG TA
1939 Billy Michael Wolseley
1946 Artie Bell Riley
1949 Chris Lindsay Ford Special
1950 Dermot Johnston Allard
1953 Wilbert Todd Dellow
1954 Mervyn Glover Dellow
1960 Adrian Boyd Austin-Healey Sprite
1970 Roger Clark Ford Escort RS 1600
1995 Bertie Fisher Subaru Impreza
1996 Stephen Finlay Ford Escort Cosworth
1997 Bertie Fisher Subaru Impreza
1998 Austin McHale Toyota Celica
1999 Bertie Fisher Subaru Impreza
2000 No Rally
2001 No Rally Foot and Mouth
2002 Andrew Nesbitt Subaru Impreza
2003 Derek McGarrity Subaru Impreza
2004 Derek McGarrity Subaru Impreza
2005 Derek McGarrity Subaru Impreza
2006 Eugene Donnelly Toyota Corolla
2007 Mark Higgins Subaru Impreza
2008 Eamon Boland Subaru Impreza S12B
2009 Eugene Donnelly Škoda Fabia WRC
2010 Derek McGarrity Subaru Impreza S12B
2011 Derek McGarrity Subaru Impreza S11
2012 Juho Hanninen Škoda Fabia S2000


External links

  • Circuit of Ireland website
  • Ulster Automobile Club
  • Intercontinental Rally Challenge
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