Irish WRC bid could still go ahead in 2026

Irish government previously rejected attempts for rally from next season.
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Motorsport Ireland has revealed there remains the opportunity to host a World Rally Championship (WRC) event in 2026.

Confirmed:

  • Motorsport Ireland is once again engaging with government over the feasibility of the event
  • Any government decision needs to be underpinned ‘by an independent economic analysis and business case’

Context:

Motorsport Ireland’s original bid to host a WRC event in 2025 fell through over funding issues. Ireland had hoped to secure a three-year contract to return to the WRC calendar for the first time since 2009, with a plan to rotate between three different locations – Waterford, Kerry and Limerick – during the lifetime of the deal.

When announcing the plan, Motorsport Ireland confirmed it was seeking €15 million (US$15.96 million) in funding over the three years, with an expected economic benefit to the country of €300 million (US$319.14 million). But, at the time, Thomas Byrne, minister of state for sport, physical education and the Gaeltacht, decided he needed more time to evaluate the proposal.

Comment:

Aiden Harper, president of Motorsport Ireland, said: “This is a progressive step in Motorsport Ireland’s plans to bring the World Rally Championship back to this island. Over the last month we have had constructive discussions with Minister Byrne and the WRC Promoter and we look forward to assisting Department officials with any additional information they require while carrying out their analysis.

“I greatly appreciate Minister Byrne’s commitment to undertaking the necessary assessments to consider an event of this nature. Ireland has demonstrated it can hold international motorsport events in the past and I have no doubt we will again in the future.”

Coming next:

The next round of the WRC season takes place in Poland from 27th to 30th June.

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