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Following a one year hiatus the Northern Ireland Motor Club Ltd have announced that the Ulster Rally is set to return later in the year, the weekend of Friday 19 and Saturday 20 November. The event will run out of Newry.

As with most outdoor sporting events last year, the 2020 instalment of the Tarmac classic had to be cancelled because of the COVID-19 health pandemic. But organisers are confident the roll-out of the vaccination programme against the respiratory disease, which is set to be largely completed by the end of this summer, will allow the Ulster Rally to be staged safely.

The 2019 Ulster Rally winners Craig Breen and Paul Nagle. Photograph: Jakob Ebrey
The 2019 Ulster Rally winners Craig Breen and Paul Nagle. Photograph: Jakob Ebrey

“Due to COVID-19 and the current restrictions, the preparations required for an August date could not be completed,” explained Event Director, Richard Swanston. “We will continue to monitor the situation and tailor our plans to suit as we work towards the November date.”

On the issue of spectators being allowed to attend the closed-roads event, Swanston added: “If restrictions are such that the attendance of spectators would be illegal, and would pose a risk to the community we are operating in, then we’ll review the viability closer to the time.

“In controlled areas such as service parks, again, restrictions at the time will dictate how we operate. It’s very fluid at the moment but we have a date and we’re working towards that.”

The 44th Ulster Rally will be run out of Newry in 2021, with further details concerning the stages, the event HQ and the service park all to be announced in due course by organisers.

The 2021 event can be followed via the Ulster Rally website www.ulsterrally.com as well as the official Facebook account www.facebook.com/ulsterrally

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