Belfast is set to be the key host for the 2014 Circuit of Ireland Rally with the ceremonial start and finish of the rally taking place in the city.
The Rally HQ and Service Park will be located in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter welcoming over 1000 competitors and team personnel over a four-day period next Easter.
The Circuit of Ireland is the first tarmac rally on the 12-strong FIA European Rally Championship calendar and gets into gear on Thursday, April 17 with a ceremonial start in central Belfast.
The two-day rally then kicks off on Friday, April 18 with the course set to cover more than 230 competitive kilometres taking in stages in Belfast and counties Down and Antrim. The rally will finish back in Belfast on Saturday evening.
ERC organisers, Eurosport Events, are billing the event as ‘legendary’ and will broadcast the rally, which is expected to attract more than 10 million viewers globally as well as thousands of spectators and team officials who will travel to Northern Ireland.
It is anticipated the event will generate over £1 million for the local economy.
Belfast City Council is a key partner of the Circuit of Ireland and Lord Mayor, Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, said: “It is fantastic to welcome another high profile sporting event to the city. Belfast is continuing to grow in stature as one of the world’s premier sporting venues. We hosted the World Police and Fire Games in the summer of 2013 attracting visitors from all corners of the globe.
“With the circuit of Ireland on its way as well as the Giro d ‘Italia, 2014 looks set to be another bumper year for sport and attracting increased tourism to Belfast.”
Event Director, Bobby Willis, added: “There are very few rallies in the world that get the opportunity to base themselves in a capital city and the support and interest from Belfast has been overwhelming.
“The Circuit of Ireland has been hailed as a ‘flagship event’ among the 12 rallies of the European Rally Championship so I am sure Belfast is set to feature as a highlight in this top international series.”