Irish faces were to the fore at yesterday’s launch of the World Rally Championship in Birmingham.
Three of our best and brightest drivers make up the Citroen Total Abu Dhabi team with Kris Meeke from Dungannon and his co-driver Paul Nagle from Killarney, and Waterford’s Craig Breen spearheading their challenge across the 13 races of the Championship.
Antrim’s Chris Patterson will co-drive for team patron Khalid Al Qassimi throughout the Championship as well.
Ireland has a long tradition of rallying and it is not only Team Citroen where the influence is felt.
World Rally Champions Ford have increased their support of Champion Sebastian Ogier and the M-Sport team. It is reported that a major influence on his staying on was an increased involvement in the team from Gerard Quinn of Cork who is Head of Ford Motorsport in Europe.
Unfortunately, there is no reappearance of the Circuit of Ireland Rally on the European Championship Circuit. The race was cancelled last year over lack of funding and it has not been possible yet to regain a foothold for 2018.