The Barbados Rally Club (BRC) is renewing its partnership with the Circuit of Ireland, one of the world’s oldest rallies, which marks its 85th Anniversary this year. In association with the island’s Tourism Development Corporation (TDC), the BRC is again offering two Irish motor sport volunteers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to enjoy the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport International, Sol Rally Barbados (June 3-5).
  In addition to continuing as a round of the FIA European Rally Championship and the FIA ERC Junior, Irish Tarmac and Northern Ireland Rally Championships, ‘The Circuit’ also returns to the British Rally Championship. The event has moved away from its traditional Easter date and will run from April 7 to 9; after a Ceremonial Start on Thursday evening, there will be two legs on Friday and Saturday, covering 210 stage kilometres (130 miles).
  The newly re-launched BRC – there was no British Championship last year - made a huge impact when it kicked off at the Mid-Wales Stages last weekend (March 5/6). There was fierce competition on the stages, Elfyn Evans beating Sweden’s Fredrik Ahlin by just 17 seconds, with Tom Cave third, all in Ford Fiesta R5s; off-stage, a wide range of conventional and social media platforms followed the action closely, with coverage on terrestrial television starting at 7.30am on Channel 4 tomorrow (Saturday), then on BT Sport on Sunday.
  With its inclusion in the BRC, The Circuit can expect to build on last year’s extremely successful event, which enjoyed a record number of entries, as well as spectator numbers increasing by seven per cent to 78,000. It also more than doubled its global television audience from 15 to 40 million.
  The prize on offer to the Irish volunteers, for which the two winners’ names will be ‘drawn out of a hat’, includes return flights from London Gatwick to Barbados, accommodation and a shared rental car. As well as Sol RB16, the trip encompasses Simpson Motors Scrutineering and King of the Hill the previous weekend; all volunteers over the age of 17 will automatically be entered.
  Circuit of Ireland Event Director Bobby Willis said: "We're absolutely thrilled to once again work together with Sol Rally Barbados and the Tourism Development Corporation. Two such different events joining together is a real partnership across the ocean. Sol Rally Barbados is such a fantastic rally, which is enjoyed by so many British and Irish people, and it's fantastic that we can continue this partnership.
  "This year the Circuit of Ireland will reach new heights with the added participation and media coverage of the British Rally Championship. To think that two of our lucky volunteers will travel to such a fun and exciting island over 4000 miles away is truly awesome."
  Barbados Rally Club Chairman Mark Hamilton said: “Our seven-year association with the TDC has helped us to promote our event, and Barbados as a destination, to the rally-mad Irish with tremendous success - we are two islands with rallying at the heart of our culture, so there is a natural fit. Motor sport is the same on both sides of the Atlantic - without our unpaid volunteers, our sport would be lost.”
Caribbean regular Procter confirms European Rallycross programme
Ten-time competitor in Sol Rally Barbados, Britain’s Kevin Procter, has confirmed that he will contest the FIA European Rallycross Championship this season in a Ford Fiesta Supercar . .  . but it will not affect his participation in Sol RB16. Procter last competed regularly in Europe in 2012, but has made selected FIA World Rallycross Championship appearances since, notably at Loheac in France and Lydden Hill in the UK.
  Procter’s team have spent the last 18 months developing the car, and he now feels ready to take on international competition: “I want to do all of the European rounds this year. We’ve had a year developing the engine in the car and I think we’re really getting there. I’m confident with the car. We had some problems with the starts but I think we’ve solved them now. We’ve got to be realistic about our chances, but it’s about going and being part of something big. It’s so nice to go and race in Europe. If I can get some good results, it would be fantastic for both me and the team.”
  Procter won the French round of the European Championship in 2012, when he became only the third driver in history to win an A final having first progressed through the C and B finals: “Nobody expected us to win in France that year. Everything just fell together. There aren’t many of us in the UK that can say we’ve won a European round. The luck’s got to be on your side, but we’ve proved before that it is possible. This sport just gets in your blood.”
Sol Rally Barbados is a tarmac rally, with around 22 special stages run on the island’s intricate network of public roads, under road closure orders granted by the Ministry of Transport & Works; Sol RB16 and the previous Sunday’s King of the Hill ‘shakedown’ event, are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which will celebrate its 60th Anniversary in 2017. Sol RB16 marks the ninth year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.
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The general image is of the start/finish last year in the Ttanic Quarter in Belfast . . .
Last year’s prize-winners Ian Connolly from County Londonderry and Kevin Flanagan from County Monaghan enjoyed some time at Bushy Park Barbados, where Sol RB15 started and finished . . . they even got to stand on the Suzuki Challenge Series podium . . .