With a strong tradition of involvement it has been confirmed that Dunlop are to continue its sponsorship of the Irish National Rally Championship.
Speaking at the awards ceremony for this year’s series at the Sheraton Hotel in Athlone on Saturday night, Steve Lynch, Marketing and Public Relations Manager, highlighted the unique relationship between Motorsport Ireland, the championship organisers and the individual clubs that ensure the Dunlop National Rally Championship has such a high profile.
He said, “The Dunlop National Rally Championship is one of the most prestigious and important motorsport championships in Ireland. We are delighted to be in a position to extend the title sponsorship. Dunlop has a proud motorsport heritage in Ireland, where it has been involved in motor racing for over 100 years.
Donegal’s, Declan Boyle and his cousin, Brian Boyle, were presented with the overall awards. Declan received the magnificent Vard Memorial Trophy from Wendy Vard and Steve Lynch presented Brian with the Noel Smyth Trophy. The Donegal duo won five of the six rounds they contested and secured the title at the Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally in Clonmel last August.
The 2013 Dunlop champions will defend their title in 2014 and try to equal the feat of back to back titles – previously achieved by Patrick Elliott (2008 & 2009), John Gilleece ((1997 &1998) Stephen Murphy (1995 &1996) , Bertie Law (1983 & 1984) and Ger Buckley (1979 & 1980). Monaghan’s, Niall Maguire remains the only driver to have won the national series on three occasions – 1999, 2002 and 2004.
Declan Boyle commented, “We will certainly compete in the Dunlop series in 2014. It’s a great championship and we will be back for more.”
Dunlop began its sponsorship of the national series in 2000 when it was won by Convoy’s, Paul Harris. Another Donegal driver, Vincent Bonner won the national series in 1987.
The 2014 Dunlop National Rally Championship will consist of the following events: 1. Mayo Rally (Ballina) March 9th; 2. Circuit of Kerry (Tralee) April 6th; 3. Carlow Rally, May 11th; 4. Circuit of Munster (Adare) June 1st; 5. Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally (Clonmel) August 10th; 6. Galway Summer Rally (Ballinasloe) August 31st; 7. Clare Rally (Shannon) September 21st; 8, Donegal Harvest Rally, October 11th. Competitors will be able select the best six scores from the eight events and the Historic and Junior competitors can utilise the best four scores from eight events.