Wales’ World Rally Championship contender Elfyn Evans says Rally Northern Ireland has the potential to be a fantastic event and is hopeful it brings the WRC’s return to the United Kingdom in 2022.
Rally Northern Ireland’s unconfirmed 2021 WRC slot was replaced by Ypres Rally Belgium due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the United Kingdom.
Despite the blow, event promotor Bobby Willis remains committed to making Rally Northern Ireland happen in 2022. His enthusiasm fuelled further by the WRC Promotor’s keen interest to visit Ireland’s unique asphalt roads.
Toyota driver Evans is the latest stakeholder to come forward in support of a WRC round in Northern Ireland.
“I was really looking forward to the event in Northern Ireland,” Evans told Motorsport Monday’s Jerry Williams. “Because I have done a lot [of rallying in Ireland] in the British Rally Championship.
“I did a year of the Fiesta Trophy quite early on in my career in Ireland.
“I think there’s the potential there to get a fantastic rally, albeit in very different conditions to what we have in Rally GB.
“But fingers crossed we can at least keep an event on British soil in the future with the hope of having Northern Ireland in 2022.
“There are some fantastic roads there and some fantastic rallies. So, we could be in for an exciting event and there’s the possibility we’ll get that round in Northern Ireland in 2022.
“It will be the same for many other countries who lost a round or who will, unfortunately, lose theirs, but fingers crossed we can get that round in Northern Ireland together for 2022.”
Evans retired from the lead of the Circuit of Ireland in 2016 and won the Ulster Rally later that year. The championship’s runner-up last year would be a favourite if the WRC was to arrive on the Emerald Isle next year.
Speaking to Motorsport Monday the Toyota driver said it was a massive disappointment to lose his home world rally in Wales. He also admitted it would take much more than his success to bring his local stages back to the WRC.
Williams’ full interview with Evans can be read here.
Photos by Kevin Glendinning and Gregory Lenormand / DPPI