25/05/2010

Rally Worth €30M To North West

The Topaz Donegal International Rally is expected to bring €30 million to the North West economy, according to its sponsors.

The international event is expected to attract 70,000 spectators this year, 20,000 more than usual owing to the new town stage around Buncrana on the opening day.

Sponsors Topaz claim the rally, which takes place from Friday 18 June to Sunday 20, is estimated to be worth €30 million to the economy of the northwest.

It’s the first time in nearly 30 years that the Topaz Donegal International Rally has had a town stage and it’s expected the move will draw record crowds to the opening day of the event.

The event is the only remaining three-day rally in the country and a key part of the Citroen Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. Over 150 drivers will do battle for the title – which was won last year by Gareth MacHale - over the 275 kilometre long course. The event will also incorporate a Historic Rally competition and the Fiesta Challenge on Saturday the 19th followed by a Junior Rally on Sunday the 20th.

Pictured at the launch of the Rally at the ancient ring fort of Grianán an Aileach near Buncrana are Eddie O’Brien, CEO of Topaz, drivers Eugene Ferry, PJ McDermott and his wife Natasha Nic Gairbheith who will all feature in a two part BBC documentary series about the Rally.

The documentaries will focus on the preparations and organisation of the Rally and follow the journey of the rally drivers, safety marshals, hotel staff and the supporters throughout the event. The documentaries are due to be aired this autumn.

The Clerk of the Course, Danny Gormley said the excitement generated by the spectacle of the Buncrana stage will ensure this year’s rally gets off to a "flying start".

“We are very excited by this move and I really believe this stage will make for a truly memorable opening day to this year’s event.

"Organising a town stage requires a huge amount of work, co-operation not to mention good will from so many people and organizations and we are extremely grateful for all that."

The Chief Executive of Topaz, Eddie O’Brien, who is from Buncrana said the organizers and the local authorities deserved praise for the innovative move while the Mayor of Buncrana, Lee Tedstone said the Rally had a huge economic significance for the whole region and he was delighted that Buncrana would host a special stage of this year’s rally.

(DW/GK)

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