Rallying in Ireland could resume after an absence of 18 months, "in mid to late August" according to John Naylor, the President of Motorsport Ireland.

The governing body of the sport here, who saw the departure of their CEO Leo Hassett "by mutual consent" two weeks ago, will be hoping to run "five or six events" before the end of 2021.

The last rally in Ireland was the Mayo stages in March 2020 before the first lockdown and since then there has been no road rallies here after the late cancellation of the West Cork Rally.

It means that the Donegal International Rally, will not now run over the June back holiday weekend, this after the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship (ITRC) was cancelled altogether for the second time earlier this year.

Individual events could go ahead but with local councils and the Gardaí not in a position to grant road closing orders, the likes of Galway, the Circuit of Ireland, the West Cork and more recently, the Rally of the Lakes in Killarney did not go ahead as planned.

However, there seems to be a little light at the end of tunnel as regards Rallying, the biggest discipline run under the auspices of Motorsport Ireland

"Sport Ireland are not keen to have closed road rally's at present until they see what happens in behind door events which are due to start in June" said Naylor

"We have a council meeting on the 29th of May at which Donegal will not be considered, but I have representations from a number of clubs who are keen to run events later in the summer"

"All the insurance is in place ready to restart when we get the go ahead and to be honest if we can run five or six events this year, I will be delighted".

Mondello Park

Taylor wouldn't be drawn on the reasons for the departure of Hassett earlier this month, saying that they had a good relationship and that the parting was "mutual"

There are suggestions however that pressure from some quarters in the rally community here became too much for Hassett, hastening his departure

"We are not looking for a new CEO at present and Leo’s role was also tied up in the RIAC" who are now embarking on a new rebuilding programme of their Dawson Street offices.

"Possibly whoever steps in may be in a position of a lesser role, possibly a Motorsport Manager, rather than a CEO, to deal head on with Motorsport only"

With Rallying in Ireland suspended at the moment, Taylor also teased the fact that they could even run a behind closed doors event at Mondello Park in County Kildare.

"With the new circuit racing season up and running next month, the track programme looks very full. But they could run a 7-kilometre hoop at Mondello and that is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

Meanwhile with Rallying at a standstill here a host of Irish drivers are on the entry list for the opening round of the British Rally Championship (BRC) which will take place at the Oulton Park motor racing circuit in Cheshire on 31 May.

It was already flagged that the 2013 Irish Tarmac Rally champion Garry Jennings is making a return to the BRC for the first time in 18 years in a right-hand drive Ford Fiesta R5.

Jennings will now be joined on the start ramp by siblings Sam and Josh Moffett.

Josh Moffett was the 2018 Irish Tarmac Champion

Sam the 2017 Irish champion will competed in a Ford Fiesta while younger brother Josh, who won the series the following year, had entered Hyundai i20 R5.

The Moffett brothers from County Monaghan will be able to contest the for the 2021 title if they so wish in their left-hand drive R5’s. Jennings car, being right hand drive, cannot.

Thus, Jennings will compete in the separate National category.

Desi Henry a former Irish forestry champion Desi Henry (Hyundai) is on the oversubscribed entry and Joe McGonigle will debut his new R2 Fiesta.

There are also entries from 2018 Billy Coleman Award winner James Wilson, Niall Henry, and Martin McKenna.

Two-time British champion Matt Edwards will defend his title in an R5 VW Polo.

In the junior, or two wheeled category for drivers under 23, William Creighton, who made his World Championship debut in Croatia last month, returns to the BRC in his R4 Fiesta.

Creighton has been runner-up twice before in the juniors and will be chasing the winning prize, an offer to run in a WRC round in the latest generation Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing i20 N Rally2 car in 2022.

Some of the other Irish entries for the junior class at Oulton Park are Brian Brady and Eamonn Kelly, son of Tarmac champion Donagh who won the 2015 ITRC.