RALLY WEEK: MODERN TYRES ULSTER RALLY 2023
The Modern Tyres Ulster Rally is being held in the Newry / Banbridge area on 18 and 19 August 2023. This international event is a round of both the Irish Tarmac and British Rally Championships.
Who will be crowned the 2023 Irish Tarmac champion? And can anyone stop the Adrien Fourmaux juggernaut in this year’s British Rally Championship? Those two questions – and many more beside – are going to be answered at this weekend’s Modern Tyres Ulster Rally which gets underway from 3pm on Friday with a ceremonial start in the host city of Newry.
Organised and promoted by Northern Ireland Motor Club Ltd, the Ulster Rally is the only event in the UK and Ireland that brings the biggest and the best names in international rallying together in the one place for what promises to be the standout highlight of the province’s sporting calendar.
The closed-road classic has a reputation for attracting rallying’s top talent, including Arti Vatanen, Walter Rohrl, Jari-Matti Latvala, multiple World Rally Champion Sebastien Ogier, and Elfyn Evans.
Joining that list for the 46th running of the competition is Adrien Fourmaux, who is dovetailing his commitments with M-Sport Ford in the FIA World Rally Championship’s WRC2 support series with a full programme in the Motorsport UK British Rally Championship. So far, the young Frenchman has been untouchable on gravel and asphalt, chalking up victories on each of the first three rounds in England, Scotland and Belgium respectively alongside Alexandre Coria to top the BRC standings.
This is their first visit to the Ulster but given their experience of competing at the sport’s top level, the expectation is that they will be among the crews challenging for the win. Standing in their way is Garry Pearson and Daniel Barritt, with the Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 team-mates set to provide the main opposition as four-time British Rally Champion Keith Cronin has decided to miss this one.
Welcoming the event back to Newry again Councillor Valerie Harte, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council said how delighted the Council was to be able to again host this prestigious international sporting event.
“ We are especially pleased since the headline sponsor Modern Tyres is a major employer and investor in this area. We see this as an excellent opportunity to showcase the excellent facilities and scenic beauty of the area and extend a warm welcome to all the competitors and visitors to this area.”
Speaking on behalf of Modern Tyres, Rory Byrne said that “having enjoyed rallying for many years as a competitor I am very pleased to be able to provide support and facilitate the event in our new state of the art warehouse facility in Newry”.
David Gray, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Motor Club, which promotes and organises the event, thanked both organisations for their support, without which our enthusiastic band of volunteers could not run an event of this magnitude and complexity. “We are particularly delighted with the Service Park facility at Modern Tyres which is one of the best I have seen in many years attending events throughout Europe”.
Wayne Turkington, Clerk of the Course of the 2013 Modern Tyres Ulster Rally reported that “preparations are well underway for what should be one of the key highlights of the Northern Ireland motorsport calendar. It is going to be fantastic to have crews from the two main Championships in the UK and Ireland resume their friendly rivalry here and to see who will come out on top,”
The event kicks off at 3 pm on Friday 18 August from Modern Tyres Carnbane Depot and details of the route and times can be found in the free Ulster Rally Spectators Guide which will be available to download from Tuesday 15 August - visit: ulsterrally.com to find out more. The Ulster Rally website and Facebook page will also provide a link to access video streaming of the event, which will run throughout both days with live coverage, results, and commentary.
The cars and competitors can be seen up close in the Service Park throughout the weekend and also at Regroups being held on Friday 18thAugust, 5pm – 7pm at the Civic Building, Banbridge and Saturday 19thAugust, 12pm- 1.30 pm at Armagh City Hotel.