Northern Ireland still a candidate for 2024 calendar as WRC extends the deadline for GB return

The WRC event director, Simon Larkin, says that he is still talking with the British authorities with the intention of United Kingdom returning to WRC calendar next year and admits that the WRC Promoter and FIA gave another deadline.

Rally Great Britain was among the most popular rallies in World Rally Championship and Wales was the latest country from United Kingdom that hosted a WRC round. Rally Wales was cancelled in 2020 due to coronavirus pandemic, therefore 2019 was the last year that was included to the calendar and Ott Tanak was the latest winner of that event. Since then, the authorities of Great Britain are trying to make their comeback to the series, but Brexit was an obstacle on their efforts as they could not secure the budget for this accomplishment. In addition to these, the people in charge were looking to move their event from Wales to Ireland or Northern Ireland with the last one country being the predominant candidate to host a WRC round in the future. Last but not least, it must be mentioned that WRC Promoter said that April would be the month to decide if Great Britain would return to the calendar, but eventually the deadline changed for the end of May.

"Every second day I’m talking to Bobby Willis and it is not over yet", Larkin said.

"There is still bit more time to go. 

"The government in Northern Ireland is now starting to maybe be a bit more effective following the new Brexit agreement.

"It is unfortunate to say but the reality is Craig Breen’s death has awakened the entire island of Ireland about the sport, legacy a bit more, and even its size and scope there.

"Rallying in Ireland both sides of the border, they do massive events every couple of weeks with 150 cars. 

"We are still working very strongly and hard as we can.

"Things are ongoing with Northern Ireland but with Ireland for the future as well.

"We have had fairly early and basic discussions with Ireland as well. 

"We have seen the commitment from Motorsport Ireland. 

"In WRC Juniors there are two crews there and there would have been two WRC2 supported cars in Croatia.

"The investment of John Coyne cannot be underestimated at all, it impressive and it is a reflection of the prominence of rallying in Ireland.

"At the moment all of our focus is on Northern Ireland for 2024 but that doesn’t mean we are not looking at a longer term presence on the Island for years to come".


Photo Credits: Citroen

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