The chairman of the Tarmac Rally Organisers’ Association has said the decision to make World Rally Cars ineligible for the Irish Tarmac title effectively safeguarded the championship’s future.
Under the new rules, which came into effect last season, R5 and S2000 cars now feature at the head of the Tarmac Championship while WRC crews battle it out for the lesser-known WRC Cup.
With many national rally competitions in the world hedging their bets on the ‘R’ formula, David Gray and his team decided to do likewise.
Although unpopular with some initially, he says he’s been vindicated, especially as last year’s title fight went right down the wire, with Keith Cronin winning it in Cork.
“I really think that if we had not gone with the R5 thing I probably wouldn’t be standing here – and more to the point there might not have been an Irish Tarmac Championship,” he admitted.
“It was a difficult decision to make for some people, but in the end they all got behind it. It was the competitors that made the switch a success. They said ‘If you back us then we’ll back you’.”