Page last updated at 14:15 GMT, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 15:15 UK

Scotland to host rally challenge

Car competing in IRC (picture from IRC website)
The event is expected to generate millions of pounds

A major international rallying event is to be staged in Scotland for the first time in 20 years.

The final round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) 2009 will be held over three days in Stirling and Perth and Kinross in November.

Other stages of the Challenge, which takes in 10 countries, will return to Scotland in 2010 and 2011.

The 2009 event is expected to attract thousands of spectators and generate 2.6m for the local economy.

The IRC is a rallying series for young or amateur rally drivers.

It is ranked immediately below the World Rally Championship and is contested by drivers in 2.0-litre Super2000 cars.

'Exciting destinations'

The Scottish round will be part of Homecoming Scotland, a year-long programme of events to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns' birth.

Perth and Kinross councillor, John Kellas, said: "I am delighted that we have been successful in attracting this major international event to our area.

"Rally organisers say the event could attract up to 115,000 spectators, generate 3,400 bed nights for the economy, generate a spectator spend of around 2.5m and have a total positive impact on the Scottish economy estimated at 10m.

"This rally showcases some of the most beautiful places in the world as a backdrop, and Perth and Kinross surely fits that bill.

"This event is just another reason why Perth and Kinross has become one of the most exciting destinations to visit, and is a great place to stay."

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