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Topaz Donegal International Rally
RALLY NEWS No.1 - Pre start - Friday @ 08:24:39
 

RALLY NEWS NO.1 Mt.Errigal Hotel/Friday morning early

Ahead of the drivers on this Topaz Donegal International Rally lies a real challenge, Clerk of the Course Danny Gormley and his team have laid out a real tough course this time. Gareth MacHale and his co-driver Brian Murphy in their Focus WRC head a first class entry, and whoever brings their car over the Mount Errigal Hotel finish ramp on Sunday evening to take the winners’ laurels will know that they have conquered a very special rally. Happily all the top entries as listed in the programme, bar one, Derek McGarrity, have reported for action. Behind Gareth are the top Tarmac Championship contenders, Eugene Donnelly, Eamonn Boland, Tim McNulty and Aaron MacHale. Also in World Rally cars are local men PJ McDermott and Daniel Doherty, who drive Impreza WRC’s. Sean Devine is in an S11 and Glenn Allen, on his first rally since last year’s Bushwhacker drives his black Corolla WRC. Glenn’s co-driver Damien Connolly (Mr Dentman) told us last night that they had given their Corolla WRC a real good test run, about 50 kms, and everything seemed fine.

As well as the World Rally cars at the front of the field, the GpN contenders should be right in the fight for overall honours. Former ‘rookie’ World Rally Champion Shaun Gallagher heads a very competitive and strong GpN section. Shaun starts at 9 in his Lancer with Seamus Leonard just behind at 10. Seamus is driving a state of the art ADR version of the same car, which was new for last year’s Donegal but has done little work since. Garry Jennings has his Lancer all refettled for the event with a new turbo fitted, but there are loads of drivers who will be fighting for GpN honours, including local men Danny McBride and Damien Tourish in their Lancers. Danny has his brother Rory co-driving. Rory is fortunate to make the start, as he had a fairly big accident on a quad bike a few days ago and is still showing the scars of battle. Damien Tourish has a newly acquired Evo9 for the rally and has found the car a bit different to his old Evo 6, but has had former Production World Rally Champion Niall McShea give him a hand with the set-up.

Certain to be a huge talking point on the rally will be the battle of the Mk2 Escorts. Wesley Patterson will probably be the yardstick, while quick local men include Manus Kelly, Declan Boyle and Brian Brogan. Sure to be right on the Escort pace as well will be drivers such as Adrian Hetherington, Gary McPhillips, Frank Kelly, Rodney Wilton and a whole lot more including Camillus Bradley. Camillus though runs a smaller engine in his Escort, and is suffering a touch of flu as well, so maybe this won’t be his weekend, but then you never can tell. A very special driver/car combination is young Scottish start David Bogie in his Metro 6R4. David has Monaghan’s Enda Sherry co driving and if the car sticks the course they shouldn’t be far away from the top times. They start at No.16.

Livening proceedings up tonight, a group of rally men, drivers, tyre technicians, clothing men, reportedly all talented musicians, have decided to get together and form a band just for tonight, Friday, and hold an informal music and dance session in the Mt Errigal, starting at 9.30. All the cash raised will go towards the Paul Gallagher Fund, and it sounds as if it will be the best of craic. Meanwhile looking outside Letterkenny Kris Meeke has got off on slightly the wrong foot for the Ypres Rally, as he damaged a rear corner of his Peugeot on the test stage last night. Everything should be fine for the rally though. On the shakedown times we have so far Kris was just 0.1s down on Kopecky in the Skoda. Kris was 0.1s faster than his team mate Freddy Loix.

More news later: Please think SAFETY this weekend: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net
*For SMS results text RALLY ITC to 53030 (Irl.) or 60066 (UK): Text STOP to switch off. Cost 30c/25p. Provided by stagetimes.com
 
 
 



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