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Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Rally Ireland route is revealed

Sebastien Loeb
World champion Sebastien Loeb won the 2007 Rally Ireland

Next year's Rally Ireland will see World Rally Championship action in seven Irish counties, event organisers have revealed.

The event starts with a ceremonial stage in Enniskillen on 29 January.

In addition to county Fermanagh, action will take place in Cavan, Leitrim, Tyrone, Sligo, Donegal and Roscommon.

Rally Ireland will be the first WRC event of 2009 and it will be the first time in almost 30 years that the season opener has not been in Monte Carlo.

The event will take place between 29 January and 1 February with 18 stages taking place over the four-day event.

At Wednesday's launch in Sligo, Irish Minister for State for Science and Innovation Dr Jimmy Devins hailed the eventís return to the North West.

"2007's Rally Ireland was seen by more than 62 million people in over 180 countries worldwide," said the Minister.

"The potential for the North West to position itself, as a major tourist destination through this level of coverage is very significant."

Across the region festivals are been organised
Rally Ireland Event Director John Naylor

Brian Smart, Director of Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Events in Northern Ireland, said that the 2007 event "was a huge success in showcasing Northern Ireland internationally".

"Once again we are delighted to be involved in what is a world-class event in a thrilling sport," he added.

Rally Ireland Event Director John Naylor said that staging the opening event of the 2009 WRC "is a huge honour".

"Across the region festivals are been organised and this event will once again provide fans with the opportunity to see the world's top rally drivers battling the testing stages in the North West and all for free," said Mr Naylor.

January 29 marks the ceremonial start of the event in Enniskillen.

The Rally proper will begin the following morning with the first stage taking place in Cavan.

Rally Ireland will then run through six more counties before finishing with the last stage in Donegal Town on Sunday.

The Service Park will be based in Sligo IT, while Rally HQ will be in the Clarion Hotel in Sligo town.

Rally Ireland will be run by Motorsport Ireland in conjunction with the Association of Northern Ireland Car Clubs with sponsorship from Failte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

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see also
Loeb eases to victory in Corsica
12 Oct 08 |  Rallying
Rally co-founders step down
18 Sep 08 |  Rallying
Rally Ireland to return in 2009
07 Dec 07 |  Rallying
Loeb dominates in Rally Ireland
17 Nov 07 |  Rallying

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