Carlsson returns in Mitsubishi Lancer
Sixty nine entries have been received for Rally Ireland 2006, Ireland's bid for qualification for a round of the World Rally Championship (WRC). The event, sponsored by Fáilte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Events Company, has once
again attracted a top group of international drivers to take on the considerable local talent.
Drivers from seven countries will take part in Rally Ireland 2006, which will take place from Friday, 10th to Sunday, 12th March in Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Sligo and Tyrone.
Top international drivers include:
Daniel Carlsson, the Swede who is in third position in the current WRC standings and participated in Rally Ireland's pilot event in October 2005, finishing in fourth position.
Frenchman Nicolas Bernardi, who is the current French Rally Champion, and who drove for the Peugeot WRC team last year.
Chris Atkinson, from Australia, is participating in his second WRC season with Subaru and currently holds tenth position in the championship. This will be Chris's first visit to Ireland.
Jaan Molder from Estonia will return to Ireland having competed in Rally Ireland 2005 finishing 11th. This will be Jaan's second time to compete in Ireland. In addition, Riccardo Scandola from Italy visits Ireland for the first time.
The Irish talent will be led by Gareth MacHale who finished third in Rally Ireland 2005, and how is participating in his first WRC season this year. Having missed last year's event, current Irish Tarmac champion Eugene Donnelly also takes part. Northern Ireland's Andrew Nesbitt also enters Rally Ireland for the first time. Eamon Boland, runner-up in Rally Ireland 2005 returns for the latest challenge.
Rory Galligan makes up the second part of the Mitsubishi WRC works team alongside Daniel Carlsson. This will be the first time that a full WRC works team will have entered a WRC candidate event. Ray Breen and Peadar Hurson make up the top 10.
The only female driver, as in Rally Ireland 2005, will be Northern Ireland's Emma McKinstry.
Commenting on the quality of the entries for Rally Ireland 2006, Tom Nolan, Clerk of the Course said: “We are delighted with the quality of our entries this year. As well as having a full WRC works team and the French Champion coming over to Ireland, the support from the Irish drivers has been superb. Rally Ireland 2006 promises to be a great battle between the top international and Irish drivers in the North West of Ireland next month.”
Press release Rally Ireland