IN a massive coup for organisers of this year's International Rally of the Lakes, the 2013 event has been selected as Round Four of the prestigious European Historics Rally Championship.
The Cartell.ie Rally of the Lakes - which takes place over the May Bank Holiday weekend - was chosen from seven rallies throughout Europe, all of whom were eagerly vying for this prestigious title round.
What makes Killarney's selection all the more special is that it marks the first time an official FIA Historic Round will be hosted in Ireland, and has already attracted scores of international crews from Sweden, the US, Italy, Wales, the UK and even New Zealand.
Last year's event was observed by a member of the FIA - the governing body of motorsport worldwide - who was highly impressed with the classic stages, the high standard of organisation of the event and also by the Killarney town itself.
Cartell.ie, Ireland's leading vehicle history record company, continue as valued title sponsors for the fourth year, with additional support from the Gleneagle Hotel Group, Ordnance Survey Ireland, KC Print and the hoteliers and traders of Killarney.
As well as the prestigious European Historics Rally Championship, the 34th Rally of the Lakes will also be a counting round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the Irish Tarmac Historic Rally Championship, the Irish Tarmac Modified Challenge and the PlasticBags.ie Southern 4 Championship.
As is traditional, each day starts with the iconic Molls Gap stage, with the total stage distance spanning approximately 240kms. On Saturday the rally then head's east of Killarney into the challenging stages of Gortnagane, Bannard and Knockacullig keeping the action close to Killarney and very accessible for spectators.
On Sunday the Rally goes south down along the Beara Peninsula taking in the most famous classic route of stages this country has to offer, such as Healy Pass, Cods Head and Ardgroom, followed by one blast through the Killmackillogue harbour stage on the way home to the finishing ramp at the Gleneagle Hotel.
Clerk of the Course, Dermot Healy - who takes the helm for the third consecutive year - has once again designed the most demanding route possible, which he says will test man and machine over the bank holiday weekend.
Centralised service will take place in Liebherr Container Cranes, Killarney on Saturday and in Castletownbere on Sunday, while regulations, on-line entries and further information are available at www.rallyofthelakes.com