THE SMELL of burning rubber and the sound of screeching tyres will fill the skies over Kilmallock and the wider area this weekend when the Circuit of Munster car rally comes to town.
Some 160 competitors along with their co-drivers and teams will be arriving in Kilmallock on Saturday, with a ceremonial drive of the cars through the town at around 7pm.
Featuring nine stages, the actual race begins in Kilfinane on Sunday from 10.15am and heads out towards Glenroe and Ballylanders weaving its way back towards the Elton and Bulgaden area and then Kilmallock, where the first car is expected over the finishing line outside Deebert House Hotel around 4.30pm.
Winners’ laurels and bottles of bubbly will feature at the presentation ceremony which will take place from around 5pm in the hotel grounds.
“It is a great event for Kilmallock. There are around 160 entries for it which is very good. There will be a great buzz around the town and the surrounding area,” said Margaret Atalla of Deebert House Hotel.
“There will be a great spin-off for businesses - anybody providing food, accommodation, petrol - and general shops. A huge number of people are interested in rally driving.”
The Circuit of Munster will consist of a 120km loop of stages with 86km of road sections.
Services will be centralised in the Kilmallock area.
Thousands of spectators are expected to line the various stages of the route throughout the Ballyhoura region to watch the action.
Spectators could also find themselves on TV, with the event being recorded for Sky TV and TG4 for broadcasting next week to the world at large.
Hotels, hostels and guesthouses throughout the area and further afield are reporting great room take-up, resulting in the sponsors already negotiating the return of the rally at some point in the future.
Organised by The Limerick Motor Club, this premier rally of Ireland was brought to the area by Deebert House Hotel, Da Vinci Creative and Ryan’s SuperValu through their sponsorship and negotiation and their work in promoting the area to a wider audience through events and publicity.
“Over the years with the way rallying has gone in the Limerick area there has always been a good crowd out especially if the weather is good,” said Kieran Ambrose, clerk of the course.
Donagh Kelly, who is number one on the road, will be going out on the course in a Ford Focus WRC. There will also be a number of Subaru WRCs, and Ford Focus Mk2s in the competition and local man James Murphy will be in a Ford Escort Cosworth WRC.
“Saturday night will bring the rally to the people - they will get to see the rally cars up close and personal,” said Kieran.
“The services and the cars will be in the mart yard on Sunday which will be a great place to go to see the cars when they are not at full competition speed especially some of these world rally cars - the technology inside them is out of this world,” added Kieran who hails from Shanagolden.
Details of road closures can be found at www.limerick.ie/sites/default/files/atoms/files/decision_advert_munster_rally.pdf. Details of the course can be found online at www.limerickmc.ie or in the official souvenir programme which is now available in many outlets around the Ballyhoura region.