KERRY Motor Club will launch its Rose Hotel Circuit of Kerry Rally with a special function at the landmark Tralee establishment on Monday night, March 20.
The event attracts thousands of rally fans to town say the organisers and this creates a great tourism boost for the town.
A counting round of the locally sponsored Top Part West Coast Rally championship, the April 2 event is expected to attract some of the best drivers in Ireland and further afield to compete on some the best rally roads in Ireland.
Already confirmed is former winner and multiple Northern Irish Rally Champion Derek McGarrity in his state-of-art Ford Fiesta World Rally Car.
Triton Showers boss Kevin Barrett, a driver with strong Kerry connections, will contest the rally in his Subaru Impreza WRC and will be aiming on a top result in what he considers one of his local events.
Last year’s Circuit of Munster winner, Steve Wood, is also entered in his Subaru Impreza and will employ Abbeyfeale-based co-driver Keith Moriarty for the weekend. Moriarty is very much looking forward to his local stages.
Additional big names are expected to commit after this weekend’s West Cork Rally in Clonakilty.
Monday night’s event gets underway at 7pm when clerk of the course, Tralee man Richard Talbot, outlines some of the route details and reveals some of the star names that have entered the nine-stage, 120km rally.
It is the longest possible mileage allowed under current Motorsport Ireland rules for a one day rally, offering a great challenge to the driver and an incredible spectacle for the thousands of fans expected in Tralee for the weekend.
Richard Talbot said: “The Circuit of Kerry is one of the most important events on the Irish rally calendar. World rally star Paul Nagle cut his teeth on this rally and recorded one of his first national rally wins on this rally when it was based in Dingle.”
An extensive route survey has already taken place and residents in the proposed route have offered their all-important support to the rally.
A total of nine stages, in a three-by-three format, using roads not used in The Kingdom for many years, and on stages made famous by the old-style Circuit of Ireland, ensures that competitors and fans can look forward to a long and challenging rally.
Another plus point for the rally is that driver sign-on, the service park, and other event-related activities are all housed within the Rose Hotel’s complex, making it a very easy event to manage from both an organiser and competitor point-of-view.