A splash through Ireland’s stunning scenery

It will soon be a decade since a major FIA championship visited the island of Ireland's tremendous roads

McCormack Girardo

A rally car splashing its way down a narrow ribbon of twisting Tarmac. A wild and wet moorland with not a building in sight. A few sheep in the distance at the foot of hills lost in low clouds.

This picture from the Girardo & Co. Archive just screams Irish rallying.

This is the Circuit of Ireland, the Belfast-based rally that was a European Rally Championship counter for a three-year spell in the 2010s. The event was, of course, a regular feature of a previous incarnation of the ERC through the 1970s and ’80s.

Following this week’s news, the 2016 edition pictured here will remain the last time a major FIA championship visited the island of Ireland for at least another year.

ERC Circuit of Ireland Rally 7 - 9 April 2016

It was a chance for the Irish Tarmac and British championship regulars to test their mettle against some of Europe’s best.

Marty McCormack, a stalwart of the Irish scene as well as being a four-time winner of the Roger Albert Clark Rally, was at the wheel of a Škoda Fabia S2000 in 2016. With local knowledge on his side, McCormack went third fastest through the nine miles of Glendun and was running fourth overall on the second leg when fuel-pump failure put him out.

The winner of the event? A certain Craig Breen. The Irish hero brought his Citroën DS3 R5 home 10 seconds clear of the Ford Fiesta R5 of Kajetan Kajetanowicz, who was en route to the second of three consecutive ERC titles.