Ulster Rally set to power through Licburn city centre this weekend

Top rally drivers set to hit the streets of Lisburn this Easter Launching the 2015 Lisburn 'Power Stage' of the Circuit of Ireland Rally'' Pic: Matt Mackey/Presseye.com
Top rally drivers set to hit the streets of Lisburn this Easter Launching the 2015 Lisburn 'Power Stage' of the Circuit of Ireland Rally'' Pic: Matt Mackey/Presseye.com

The hugely popular Lisburn Power Stage”of the Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland Rally is set to take to the streets of the city on Saturday.

The all-action stage, which has been a popular feature of the Rally since 2011, will provide a spectacle of up to 140 cars against the backdrop of a family fun day in Lisburn.

The Circuit, which will run across stages in Counties Antrim and Down over Easter weekend, will be part of the prestigious FIA European Rally Championship for the second year and counts as round two of the 2015 FIA ERC Junior Championship.

The Lisburn Power Stage will see the competitors battle the clock on public roads in the afternoon but from 12 noon, Castle Gardens will host a free Easter Eggstravaganza of family fun with everything from amusements, donkey rides, crazy golf, a climbing wall and arts and crafts workshops.

Then, from 2pm on the Queen’s Road, some of European rally’s biggest names will race through a 1km stage finishing at Lagan Valley Island.

The surrounding areas of Lisburn are also set to play a role in the Circuit of Ireland Rally as this afternoon (Friday) a stage will take place close to Boardmills while Hillsborough Castle’s forecourt will host a regroup of the rally cars on Easter Saturday around noon before they travel to Lisburn.

Phillip Greenlee, who will be competing in the national round of the Circuit in his Mark 2 RS Ford Escort, is just one of the local drivers set to visit Lisburn this year.

The County Armagh man, who finished second in the two litre class of the event last year, joined representatives of Lisburn City Council and Circuit of Ireland Event Director Bobby Willis to officially announce the Circuit’s plans in the city this year.

Mr Willis said: “Following the amazing welcome we received in Lisburn in recent years we’re delighted to be bringing some of Europe’s top rally drivers back to the city and surrounding area.”

Following the ‘shakedown’ and qualifying round in Holywood on Thursday, thousands of fans were expected to flock to the ceremonial start of the rally at Belfast City Hall that evening.

The winner will be crowned at a ceremonial finish back in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter on Saturday evening.