All systems go for the Galway International rally

Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan, winners of the 2015 Galway International Rally. Photographer: Sean Hassett

Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan, winners of the 2015 Galway International Rally. Photographer: Sean Hassett

A capacity entry will hit the roads in the west for the 2016 Corrib Oil Galway International Rally which takes place this weekend.

Revving up tomorrow (Friday ) with the ceremonial start, the rally is expected to conclude on Sunday afternoon when the winners cross the finish line at the Clayton Hotel.

Host Galway Motor Club has confirmed entries from Germany, Australia and America, in addition to numerous British and Irish crews, totalling more than 100.

The rally is estimated to be worth €5m to the local economy, and is expected to generate some 2,000 bed nights for hotels and guest houses. Competing teams, sponsors and crews, and the thousands of spectators who line the route, bring a welcome early season boost to visitor numbers in Galway city and county.

The rally will get under way with a ceremonial start in Eyre Square tomorrow (Friday ) at 8pm, following afternoon scrutineering of cars which takes place for the first time at the Galway Race Course from 2pm. These are ideal opportunities for spectators to get up close to the rally cars and drivers prior to the start of the competition.

Headquarters for the event is the Clayton Hotel, Ballybrit, Galway. The rally route will cover nine closed road stages on Saturday and another six on Sunday. The rally service park will be in Portumna Mart on Saturday and in Gort Mart on Sunday, by permission of the mart committees. Sunday evening will see the ceremonial finish back at the Clayton Hotel from approximately 3.30pm. Admission to all events is free over the weekend.

Road Safety

The Corrib Oil Galway International Rally is sanctioned by the FIA under an official permit issued by Motorsport Ireland, and supported by 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, and the Galway Motor Club is reminding 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, and extensive signage to promote this road safety message will be visible.

Clerk of the course Kieran Donohue is encouraging fans travelling to the Galway rally to heed the message from the organisers to ‘Keep the Race in its Place’, to slow down, never drink and drive, and to always wear a seatbelt. All spectators on the closed road stages must at all times obey the marshals who will be implementing a comprehensive safety plan which has been put in place

with the support of the Gardai.

Kieran Donohue says the Galway Motor Club is " indebted to the staff of Galway county and city councils, An Garda Siochana, Failte Ireland, the Road Safety Authority, Corrib Oil, 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".

Traffic Diversions

To facilitate the safe running of this event there will be temporary road closures on certain roads in south and east County Galway on Saturday and Sunday.

All will be clearly sign posted and marshalled. All residents have been informed of the times and road closure arrangements and the details have been advertised by the Galway County Council.

There will also be additional traffic in the Eyre Square area tomorrow from 7pm to 9pm to

facilitate the Ceremonial Start, in the vicinity of the Racecourse tomorrow afternoon, at the Clayton Hotel on Sunday afternoon, and during the Saturday and Sundays stage in Portumna and Gort respecitvely.

Nominated Galway Charity

Galway Motor Club has chosen Blood Bike West as its charity partner for the rally. Blood Bike West is a charitable organisation established by volunteers to deliver essential urgent medical supplies, out of hours, between hospitals, healthcare sites and laboratories. The volunteers provide the service free of charge. The charity’s volunteers will be promoting awareness at various locations along the rally route and all support will be much appreciated by them.

Rally Programmes

The official rally programme contains full listings of stage times, service area times, detailed ordnance survey route maps, and all of the information required to locate the many spectator access points. The programme costs €10 and is available from the Clayton Hotel and from various Corrib Oil filling stations, newsagents and outlets in the city and county listed on the rally website, www.galwayinternationalrally.com

Rally updates

Results, regular updates, and more detailed information will be available on the rally website, www.galwayinternationalrally.com, and also links on www.rally.ie and www.rallynews.com

Galway Bay FM will be reporting from all 15 stages throughout the weekend with regular updates and driver interviews. TG4, UTV Ireland, and Motors TV will cover the event with one hour programmes to be broadcast in the coming weeks.

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