Entries have officially opened for the Circuit of Ireland Rally, the fourth round in the 2014 FIA European Rally Championship.
The FIA, the sports' governing body, signed off the Circuit's entry regulations this week allowing organisers to forge ahead and accept entries in both the International and National events.
Taking place on 17-19 April the Circuit of Ireland Rally will be the first fully asphalt event on the 2014 FIA European Rally Championship roster. The Circuit also counts as round two of the new-for-2014 FIA ERC Junior Championship.
Meanwhile, WRC 2 competitor, Dublin's Robert Barrable has become the first to sign up and he will compete in his Tunnock's World Rally team Ford Fiesta R5, taking in the event following his WRC outing in Portugal.
“I love competing on the Circuit of Ireland – it's such a prestigious event with a great history, the stages are fantastic and the thousands of spectators create a magnificent atmosphere. My earliest memories of the Circuit are going to the event with my father Michael to help Austin McHale. Austin was famous for his flat-out approach to rallying, and that's going to be my approach too this year in the Fiesta R5,” said Barrable.
“I've done the Circuit of Ireland four times and last time out I finished sixth overall in a Skoda Fabia S2000 in 2012. The Fiesta R5 will be even better suited to the event than the Super 2000 was, so I'll be aiming to better that result.
“With all the very fast European drivers and the FIA European Rally Championship competitors, it will be a very difficult event to win – but I'd like to think we have a podium finish in us. As always, we'll be giving it our best shot.”
Welcoming Barrable as the Circuit's first official entry, event director Bobby Willis added: “It's fantastic to get the official go ahead on entry regulations from the FIA and we're moving into top gear now as we progress with entries coming in. We're confident 2014 will be a Circuit to remember with a stellar cast of competitors and iconic cars thrilling fans and spectators at each competitive stage.”
Entries for the 2014 Circuit of Ireland now close on Tuesday April 1.