Kris Meeke says he would love to see the World Rally Championship visit Ireland in the future and he is fully confident the Circuit of Ireland Rally will but on another top show.

The rally currently hosts a round of the European Rally Championship, where home-grown talent Craig Breen sits second the drivers' standings after recently taking victory in Latvia.

Ireland is gearing up for the rally which weaves between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, beginning from Lisburn on the 2-4 April, and represents one of only three tarmac events on the calendar.

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WRC star Meeke, who competes for Citroen Racing, says he wold love to race around his home country and feels Ireland would be able to sustain a competitive rally for the premier class.

"The Circuit of Ireland is a fantastic event on some of the best tarmac roads in the world," Meeke said. "It's great that it's now part of the ERC, and I may be biased but I would dearly love to see it included in the WRC as I believe it could easily carry itself."

Breen, who races for Peugeot Rally Academy, is scheduled to compete in this year's rally which represents round three of the ERC. Although the 25-year-old driver didn't enjoy a successful Circuit of Ireland rally 12 months ago, he is determined to make amends.

"Last year's Circuit of Ireland was an amazing event with so many highlights, including the welcome we received from fans at Belfast City Hall and at each individual stage," Breen said.

"Although it wasn't the most successful rally for me as my car suffered problems and I had to retire, we've sorted out the problems and my car ran faultlessly in both Austria and Latvia, so I'm feeling positive and excited about competing in the home round of the ERC."

The rally received a surprising boost last week when famous actor Idris Elba, who played Nelson Mandela in the film Mandela - Long Walk to Freedom, announced he will compete in this year's event as part of a new TV series. The rally will finish in Belfast on the evening of Saturday April 4 and the winner will be crowned at Belfast's Titanic Quarter.

Minister Arlene Foster, whose department supports the event, added: "Following on from the great success of last year's event, the 2015 Circuit of Ireland Rally once more promises to deliver the very best in motorsport as Europe's finest drivers compete on the most challenging roads in Northern Ireland.

"The huge interest in the event presents an outstanding opportunity to showcase our beautiful landscapes and spectacular scenery to international visitors and television viewers alike."