Rally makes welcome return to ‘Edge of the World’
Monday May 11th 2009: Topaz, Ireland’s largest fuel and convenience retailer has announced details of its sponsorship of this year’s Topaz Donegal International Rally Ireland.
This year’s rally is taking place from June 19th to the 21st, and will see 151 drivers from all over the country taking part in the three day event over the 300 kilometre course.
It’s estimated the rally is worth more than €25 million to the Donegal economy. Last year Topaz signed a 3 year deal which secured the future of what is one of Ireland’s oldest annual rally competitions. The company will invest almost a quarter of a million euro in sponsoring and supporting the event over the 3 years.
This year the rally makes a welcome return to the ‘Edge of the World’ aka the Inishowen peninsula for three stages, incorporating dramatic coastal routes. Over 50,000 spectators are expected to line the route of the rally as Ireland’s top drivers compete for championships points as part of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. The event will also incorporate an Historic Rally competition and the Fiesta Challenge on Saturday 20th followed by the Junior Rally on Sunday 21st.
Danny Gormley, Clerk of the Course said “We are delighted with Topaz’s continued support of the Rally, particularly in the current economic climate. Ireland is known to have the best tarmac stages in world rallying. After a gap of 7 years the Topaz Donegal International Rally is going back to Inishowen for some of the most challenging and spectacular tests to be found anywhere. We have changed the rally route significantly for 2009 with many new stages and only three of those from last year. We believe the route will provide the drivers and indeed the spectators with some truly memorable rallying .”
Eddie O’Brien, the newly appointed CEO of Topaz and a native of Donegal said. “This is the biggest event in the region - not just for rally enthusiasts - but for the economy of the north west as a whole. Topaz, as a fully Irish owned and managed company, is committed to supporting local entrepreneurs and community initiatives in a practical way. Right now this rally is more important than ever to the economy of the region.”
O’Brien went on to explain what made the Donegal Rally so special. “Given that I grew up in Buncrana I have fond memories of the rally, so I know what it means to the county and the region. The commitment of the organisers – some 500 volunteers work on the rally on a daily basis – and the support of the community, together with the enthusiasm of the spectators make it a unique event. The rally also gives Donegal a wonderful opportunity to showcase its natural beauty to a domestic and international audience in a very dramatic setting. Everyone at Topaz is delighted to be involved and to play our part in helping make it a success.”