The Circuit of Ireland Rally is celebrating a record number of entries for this year's event which hosts the third round of the FIA European Rally Championship.

53 crews are set to contest on the international stage while an additional 87 are preparing for the national competition. Top Irish driver Craig Breen currently sits second in the ERC standings and is the number one seed at his home race, making him a heavy favourite for victory.

The Peugeot-backed driver is a former WRC Academy driver and was victorious last time out in ERC, winning last month's Rally Liepaja in Latvia.

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His main competition in Ireland is expected to be LOTOS Rally Team's Kajetan Kajetanowicz who is currently ahead of Breen in the ERC standings and a four-time Polish national champion. Cote d'Azur driver Robert Consani will start third in Ireland and is expected to debut the new Citroen DS3 R5.

Alexey Lukyanuk and Yevhen Chervonenko, who fly the Belarus flag on their Ford Fiesta R5, are seeded fourth.

Local Enniskillen driver Alistair Fisher is seeded fifth and leads the Northern Ireland-based drivers, whilst Dubliner Robert Barrable, who claimed third place at last year's Circuit, is number six on the list, followed by Monaghan competitor Sam Moffett.

Circuit of Ireland Event Director Bobby Willis is delight by this year's entry list and is hoping to build on the event's momentum from 2014.

"I truly believe the Circuit of Ireland is making huge strides forward and this fantastic entry list really bodes well for the future of the Circuit and indeed for rallying in general," Willis said. "In the past six years the organising committee has worked extremely hard and I feel quite emotional when I say, I believe we have fulfilled our strapline and really have 'woken up the sleeping giant'."

Last year's winner of the National Circuit, Donegal's Declan Boyle, takes pole position on the national seeded entry list. The reigning 2014 Irish Tarmac Champion has had a challenging start to the 2015 season following car trouble at the Galway and West Cork rallies.

The Circuit of Ireland Rally runs between the 2-4th April and acts as the third of ten rounds in the 2015 FIA European Rally Championship.