16 - 18 Nov 07
Most Recent Winner:Sebastien Loeb (2008)
The final newcomer to this year's FIA World Rally Championship calendar is Rally Ireland. The all-tarmac rally is the penultimate round of the championship, which means the outcome may very well be decided on the Irish asphalt. It is paired with the season's final round, Wales Rally GB.
The event will feature an amazing cross-border initiative, which will see competitors driving back and forth between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Support and co-operation from the United Kingdom as well as the Republic of Ireland has made this venture possible, a unique feature which adds to the rally's charm.
It will take place in November rather than March when the candidate round was held, which means cooler weather and rain are expected. Many competitors will struggle initially with the conditions, and it may take an entire weekend of rallying before a driver feels completely comfortable on the wet Irish roads.
Ireland's inclusion into the WRC has been met only by praise. It will prove a tough challenge for drivers as many of the WRC field have not yet driven on the rally's bumpy and narrow roads. The scenery is absolutely gorgeous, and though it may have a difficult time replacing New Zealand as the most scenic round of the WRC, Ireland will most certainly be a strong second.
In 2007, local talent will have the opportunity to shine in their home country. With so many WRC drivers unfamiliar with the roads and conditions, we may very well see home drivers fighting for points.
A super special stage will open the event on Thursday, 15th November at 6pm (local time). The drivers will compete head to head around Parliament Buildings' grounds in Belfast, with a flying finish over the Creagh Bridge.
2007 Sebastien Loeb - Citroen C4
2006 Eugene Donnelly*
* Candidate WRC Rally