Porsche is set to make a long-awaited return to rallying in Ireland with Tuthill Porsche entering a modified 911 into the Circuit of Ireland Rally, which hosts the third round of the European Rally championship.

The Banbury-based team currently lead the 2015 FIA R-GT Cup and grabbed victory at the Monte Carlo Rally with four-time WRC winner Francois Delecour at the wheel. In Ireland, however, Robert Woodside will take over driving duties with regular co-driver Alan Harryman.

Northern Irishman Woodside, who won four stages in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X in last year's event, is relishing the challenge of racing a Porsche at the Circuit of Ireland. The German manufacturer has been absent from the top levels of rallying for 30 years.

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"I grew up watching Porsche 911s winning Irish rallies," Woodside said. "Who could forget Henri Toivonen and Billy Coleman in the Rothmans Porsche 911s of the 1980s, which Tuthill Porsche had a hand in building.

"After testing the latest incarnation, Tuthill's 911 R-GT rally car, on Irish roads earlier this year, it soon became obvious why rally fans across mainland Europe have rejoiced: it looks terrific and goes like a rocket.

Tuthill boss Richard Tuthill says he is delighted to see the Porsche 911 R-GT return to rallying in Ireland. The Porsche 911 made its official rally debut at last year's Rallye Deutschland, driven by Tuthill with regular WRC co-driver Stephane Prevot and in the process became the first Porsche to finish a World Rally race in 28 years.

"Four decades after the most recent victory for a Porsche 911, we take inspiration from the spirit of St Patrick, bringing the excitement of sports cars in rallying to a new generation of rally fans," he said.

The Circuit of Ireland Rally runs between the 2-4 April and acts as the third round of the European Rally Championship.