Rally returns to full weekend format next month

Preparations are well advanced for the Colm Quinn BMW Galway International Rally which will take place over the weekend of Feb 7 to Feb 9 and comprising the opening round of the 2014 Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

The 2014 event will return to a full weekend format and will have a total of 13 stages over the two days, mainly in the Gort and south Galway areas. The Saturday oute will cover five stages and a further eight stages will be covered on the Sunday. The event Headquarters will be the Clayton Hotel in Ballybrit, Galway. Galway Motor Club President, Mark Parsons, recently welcomed Colm Quinn BMW as the title sponsors for the rally. Colm Quinn BMW is one of Ireland’s leading BMW dealers.

Colm Quinn, Managing Director, stated that he had enjoyed being involved with the previous two Galway International rallies through his support of the Colm Quinn MINI WRC driven by Eugene Donnelly. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to sponsor the first major sporting event in Galway as it coincides with the opening of my new BMW dealership in a brand new facility on the Tuam Road, Galway in 2014” stated Colm. Galway Motor Club is delighted to confirm the return to a full weekend event, having been run as a one-day event for the past two years.

The new format will bring an additional early season boost to visitor numbers to Galway city and county. The event generates over 2,000 bed nights annually as most teams spend two weekends in the area between making their route notes and taking part in the event itself. Kieran Donohue, Clerk of the Course, said “Galway Motor Club is indebted to the staff of Galway County and City Councils, An Garda Siochana, Failte Ireland, the Road Safety Authority, the Directors and staff of Colm Quinn BMW, the 300 volunteer marshals from all over Ireland, and most of all the residents along the route for their assistance with temporary road closures to ensure the safe running of the event.”

The event will have a ceremonial start in Eyre Square on Friday February 7 at 8pm, following afternoon scrutineering of cars at Monaghans’ Garage, Tuam Road, Galway from 2pm. These will be ideal opportunities to see the rally cars and drivers prior to the start of the competition. The Galway International Rally is an event that is sanctioned by the FIA under an official Permit issued by Motorsport Ireland, and supported by the RSA – The Road Safety Authority of Ireland.

The ‘Keep the Race in its Place’ campaign is extremely successful in talking to predominantly young people who follow motorsport. The Galway Motor Club is eager to remind everyone of the need to drive safely at all times – hence the message “Keep the Race in its Place’’. All competing cars will carry this logo and message. A comprehensive traffic management plan has been put in place with the support of the Gardai.

Winner of the 2013 event, Keith Cronin, followed up his first Irish International win with a successful year competing in the World Rally Championship. He finished a close second overall in the WRC-3 class on his debut year in the top tier global championship, competing in Portugal, Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy.

He also collected a clear victory on the specialist stages of Finland, alongside several second place finishes to tie for the WRC-3 championship.

Galway Motor Club have chosen a Galway-based community -ed organisation called Domestic Violence Response (DVR ) as their charity partner for the event. Established in 1998 to respond to the issue of domestic violence in County Galway, their aim is to identify and respond to the needs of women and children who are subjected to violence and abuse in the home and to develop long-term responses that work towards the elimination of domestic violence.

For 2014 rally enthusiasts worldwide will benefit from extensive media coverage of the event. County Galway based TG4 ,which provides “free to air” terrestrial TV nationally will broadcast two 30 minute programmes devoted to the event during February, while Motors TV will have a one hour programme on its Satellite Channel, available across Europe. Locally the event will receive extensive coverage and locla radio and local newspapers including the Galway Advertiser's extremely popular Facebook and Twitter feeds. A new rally website will be regularly updated at www.galwayinternationalrally.com

The rally will contain three main sections – the International Rally being the main event, attracting both World Rally Cars and the best of the Modified drivers in Ireland. There is also an historic rally for cars built in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but fully rebuilt with modern safety features. Finally, on the Sunday route there will be a Junior Rally for drivers under the age of 26. Entries are now being accepted, with the official closing date being January 20 next. In total an entry of over 100 teams is expected.


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