Rallying clubs, motor enthusiasts and the business community across the South East are celebrating today, as MotorSport Ireland President Mr. Aiden Harper announced the World Rally Championships is set to be hosted in the region for one of the three years, with Limerick and Kerry hosting the other two years. 

This will be the largest event ever to be staged in the region, with the base camp being specially erected in Waterford, attracting thousands of visitors to Waterford and surrounding counties, as well as 841 million TV viewers across the world. 

Graham Scallan, Chairman of the South East Region Group (SERG), thanked the panel of Motorsport Ireland and FIA delegates for selecting the South East to host this world event over the coming years, saying. “We are thrilled, honoured and humbled by the successful outcome, all members involved in our voluntary bid committee put in a huge amount of work to help us achieve this result. The nine clubs have 472 years of experience in running motorsport events and we look forward to working closely with the WRC Promoter on planning the event. I would also like to thank the County Councils, Chambers of Commerce and Local Authorities in the South East Region, The Port of Waterford and everyone who supported us on our successful bid.” 

According to James Coleman, Vice-Chair of SERG (South East Regional Group): “It has taken months of hard work to get to this point and we couldn’t be more overjoyed. The collaborative effort across the region that was shown in order to get this over the line was exemplary and we look forward to working with all stakeholders as we set about making this the best World Rally Championship venue ever. Having three South East Local Authority Chief Executives, namely Michael Walsh, Lar Power and Tom Enright, involved in the process showed unity and collaboration across the region, which is hugely important, not just in terms of the World Rally Championship, but for the development of our region as a whole. 

“We presented an unmatched opportunity for an exhilarating and successful event, equipped with our excellent road networks and infrastructure, providing convenient access for both participants and spectators. Waterford City offers ample accommodation opportunities, picturesque landscapes with historical cultural attractions as an ideal backdrop for the world rally championship.
“It is fitting the event is coming to the homeplace of the late Craig Breen and it is an incredible way to honour his contribution to the sport. 

“Right now we just want to savour this moment as the first leg in the journey and then the hard work will truly begin but be assured, it’s going to be epic.” 

Gerald Hurley, CEO of Waterford Chamber of Commerce, was also heavily involved with the bid and said the economic benefits are astounding.  

“It is projected that this will generate in excess of €100 million windfall for the region and everyone will benefit from this in the long run, hospitality, tourism, retail and more.  

“We already know Waterford offers the best in terms of festivals and live events and this will be no different. We have worked very closely with SERG, the regional Local Authorities, the Port of Waterford and Failte Ireland on realising this dream and we are confident of the long-lasting benefits it will bring to the region.” 

Meanwhile, Michael Walsh, Chief Executive of Waterford City & County Council said: “We had tough competition from Limerick and Tralee in this bid, but I have no doubt in my mind that the judging panel made the right decision. I, along with my regional colleagues, have offered our full commitment to this and every accommodation will be made to ensure a successful event. While we understand rallying may be a niche sport, the positive impact this will have on our city and wider region is widespread. It’s a wonderful way to start the new year and we look forward to working with Motor Sport Ireland and all stakeholders as the months and years progress.”

The World Rally Championship 2025 is expected to take place in late August/early September, with similar dates in 2026 and 2027 and is subject to Government funding. The host years for each venue is still to be decided.