The inclusion of the Ulster Rally is the key change for the 2010 MSA British Historic Rally Championship, with the closed-road event replacing the Harry Flatters Rally on Epynt.
The MSA has recently awarded a new five-year contract to the Historic Rally Car Register to manage the championship, which comes as the HRCR completes a 10-year stint at the helm of the BHRC. The new agreement will take the championship through until at least 2014 under the same management.
Colin Hilton, MSA Chief Executive said: “The MSA has conducted a full review of the promotional contracts for all of the major rally championships. We are pleased that the HRCR is keen to continue its excellent work of recent years and this long-term contract will provide stability for all parties.”
Championship manager Simon Marks said: "We are delighted to have secured the contract from the MSA to continue taking the British Historic Rally Championship forward over the coming years. 2009 has been a particularly enjoyable season and we are looking forward to a couple of exciting developments and more competitors joining us to make 2010 our best season yet."
There will also be a new title for the BHRC, as wonago.com takes over from the Gambia as joint title sponsor with Dunlop. Wonago.com is the new holiday company of regular BHRC competitor Martin Freestone, who continues his support for the championship. The new title will be the Dunlop/wonago.com MSA British Historic Rally Championship.
Wonago.com is a travel and holiday web site, with six search engines to book holidays, cruises, flights, insurance, car hire and motor home hire, all at great discounted prices. Additionally, exclusive membership gives access to over 6,000 worldwide Premier resort villas and apartments at unbeatable prices.
Meanwhile, Dunlop will continue to provide major backing to the championship during the second year of a multi-year partnership with the BHRC. As well as being the championship's tyre supplier, Dunlop's support has allowed extensive TV coverage of the 2009 season.
The schedule for 2010 closely follows the 2009 calendar, other than the inclusion of the Ulster Rally in August. The move away from Epynt is the result of an extensive competitor survey, which clearly demonstrated demand for another high-profile closed-roads rally rather than an event on Epynt.
The Antrim-based Ulster Rally will offer a fresh new challenge and current BHRC champion Dessie Nutt says that the crews contesting the event will not be disappointed.
"It really is a superb event," said Nutt. "Everybody who goes will be very, very impressed. The stages are fantastic; some of them are old Circuit of Ireland stages. There is a very senior team that organises the event and every one of them has extensive competition experience."
The full provisional calendar is:
27 March; Bulldog Rally (gravel)
24 April; Pirelli Historic Rally (gravel)
6 June; Severn Valley Stages (gravel)
20 June; Mid Wales Stages (gravel)
9/10 July; Isle of Man Historic Rally (asphalt)
20/21 August; Ulster Historic Rally (asphalt)
11/12 Sept; Tour of Flanders (asphalt)
25 Sept; Trackrod Historic Cup (gravel)