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Donegal International Rally - 17-19 Jun 11

Posted: August 26, 2011 11:31 AM - 44138 Hits

Topaz Donegal International Rally 2011 - 17th -19th June
Round 5 - 2011 Tarmac Championship
Round 3 - 2011 Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland

Video Clip: Alastair Fisher Fiesta S2000 Donegal International Rally 2011

Posted: August 26, 2011 11:31 AM

Video Clips

Posted: June 24, 2011 2:39 PM













Fisher/Kennedy fly to second overall on the Donegal International Rally

Posted: June 24, 2011 2:04 PM

Alastair Fisher underlined his versatility and talent behind the wheel of a rally car when he claimed second overall and first in class on his Super 2000 debut on the Topaz Donegal International Rally, which is regarded as one of the toughest Tarmac rallies in the world.

The 22-year-old from Trillick in County Tyrone is better known for his exploits behind the wheel of a two-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta R2 in the FIA WRC Academy, a support category to the World Rally Championship. However, for last week’s asphalt showcase he switched to a four-wheel-drive Super 2000 version of the machine prepared by M-Sport, which runs the factory Ford team in the WRC. Despite his lack of familiarity with the high-tech car and its high-revving 2.0-litre normally aspirated 300bhp engine, Fisher excelled over the 315-kilometre route of narrow and demanding asphalt roads around County Donegal. Against several more powerful World Rally Cars and in changeable weather conditions, he was fastest outright on several of the 24 special stages.

“I went there aiming to get experience of driving a Super 2000 car on one of the toughest tarmac rallies out there,” said Fisher, who secured sponsorship from Modern Tyre Service for the event.
“But we’ve also set some fastest stage times, won class R4 and finished second overall having led during the first day. At the same time I’ve built up a lot of confidence driving a Super 2000 car should the opportunity arise in the future. It has been a great weekend.”

Fisher, who was co-driven by the vastly experienced Rory Kennedy, was at the wheel of the same Ford Fiesta S2000 Mikko Hirvonen used to win the Monte Carlo Rally in 2010.
“It was a fabulous car to drive, powerful and very responsive,” said Fisher, whose only running in the car was a 60-kilometre test prior to the start.
“I thought it was going to be a difficult car to drive after the test but I think it was because I was just too tense. During the rally I was much more relaxed and everything was fine. The M-Sport team did a great job and we had no problems, apart from a slight issue with the intercom on stage nine, which caused me to overshoot a junction.”

The 40th anniversary Donegal International Rally began on Friday (June 17) in damp conditions prompting Fisher to select a soft compound Pirelli RX9 slick tyre. Saturday’s stages ran mainly in the dry until a downpour in the late afternoon left the daunting Knockalla stage littered with puddles.
“We switched to a soft Pirelli slick with cuts for then and they provided perfect grip,” explained Fisher. He continued:
“It was a great event and good to be back with Rory again who was perfect on the pacenotes. There was a lot of interest in the car, it was a lot of fun to drive and the spectators I spoke to said how good it looked and sounded on the stages. I just want to say a big thank you to everybody who made this rally possible, particularly Modern Tyre Service, Pirelli and all the team at M-Sport.”

Fisher’s next event is the auto24 Rally Estonia, which takes place in the south of the Baltic state from July 15/16. The event uses high-speed gravel stages similar to those found on Neste Oil Rally Finland, where Fisher will resume his FIA WRC Academy campaign two weeks later.

McNulty/Kiely's Donegal Domination!

Posted: June 24, 2011 2:02 PM

Kevin Barrett maintained his Irish Tarmac Championship (ITC) lead after last weekend's Topaz Donegal International Rally, but victory for Tim McNulty has thrown his bid for a maiden ITC title back on track!

After missing round two and retiring from round three of Ireland's most prestigious rally series, McNulty was left languishing in fourth position in the Championship standings. However, victory in Donegal has propelled him into second position in the series tables, just two points behind leader Kevin Barrett.

Navigated by Paul Kiely, McNulty dominated much of the rally. He briefly lost the lead to Alastair Fisher and Rory Kennedy after stage three, but regained the advantage on the following test.

Back in control, the County Meath pilot set about extending his advantage at the head of the field. Renowned for having copious amounts of bad luck, McNulty stayed on the good side of luck on this occasion, as he powered his Subaru Impreza WRC to an emphatic maiden Donegal victory!

Alastair Fisher and Rory Kennedy claimed second overall in their Monte Carlo Rally winning Ford Fiesta S2000. They held a consistent second throughout the event, and briefly held the lead after stage three.

It has been 12 years since the Fisher name was last seen battling for outright honours in Donegal, as Alastair's late uncle Bertie made what was to be his final foray in the North West in 1999. Alastair was just 10-years-old at the time!

Now 22, Alastair brought those memories flooding back when he and Rory Kennedy, who also navigated for Bertie, topped the timesheets after stage three. They set a number of fastest stages times in the M-Sport supported car, and were ecstatic with finishing second overall.

Rally of the Lakes winner Daragh O'Riordan had to settle for third on this occasion. He enjoyed an early battle with both Seamus Leonard and Derek McGarrity, but Leonard retired after the fifth test.

O'Riordan moved in front of McGarrity after stage seven and stayed there until the finish. The result places him third overall in the Championship standings, six points behind leader Barrett.

Derek McGarrity retired with gearbox troubles on day two, so Kevin Barrett and Sean Mullally claimed fourth overall, maintaining their Championship lead.

Behind runaway Group N winner Alastair Fisher, a titanic battle raged for the runner-up Group N position. The tussle went right down to the wire with Garry Jennings and David Moynihan securing second and maximum Group N points by less than two seconds from Phillip Morrow and Johnny Hart. Fourth for Alan Ring and Adrian Deasy allows them to continue to hold the Production category lead in the Championship, as well as fourth overall.

In the Modified category, Geoffrey Dolan continues to lead in his Talbot Sunbeam. Mervyn Johnston has extended his lead in the Historic category, while Aidan O'Connor has moved to the head of the Classic category standings.

The Irish Tarmac Championship now takes a two month break before returning to action on 19/20 August for the ToddsLeap.com Ulster Rally.

Demanding Donegal for Shrimpton + Geaney

Posted: June 24, 2011 2:02 PM

Joe Shrimpton and Ciaran Geaney endured a fraught weekend here at the 2011 Topaz Donegal International Rally in the DJ Rally Hire / MB / GGH Hire / Millers Oils / JTS Cushions / BBAG Extreme Lounging / Team PR Reilly Citroen C2R2. It was touch and go that their car would be ready in time to start in Donegal after their high speed accident in Monaghan the weekend before but sterling work, and a lot of late nights by the DJ Rally Hire team meant that the pair took to the ramp in time on Friday morning to begin three days of intense competitive rallying.

It was an overcast morning as they made their way to the first stage Fanad Head, on Intermediate tyres to allow for the damp that was evident. However running almost an hour behind the lead cars made a big difference and the crew suddenly found themselves with dry roads, that seriously affected their times and ability to stay competitive, and indeed their opening time on the stage of 11.54;09 reflected this and left them 5th overall. They tackled the famous Atlantic Drive and Glen Stages next, but again lost time to the leaders as they struggled in the dry conditions, to remain in touch until they could reach service in Milford.

At Service in Milford Joe said,
"Yeah I am disappointed with where we are right now, we lost a lot of time, but we are where we are because of the great job that Derek and his guys did to get us here and start the rally. Its going to be a long event, and for Derek to get us here, right now I am happy with that" As Joe tended to the car navigator Ciaran added "Aye tough start today all right, conditions are tricky to get the tyres right and we need to catch up, but we will give it a go now on the next loop and see how it goes, but I mean the other guys like Scott, Joe and Kieran are all going well here too"

They were as good as their word, and over the next loop of stages, they managed to claw back some time with a 2nd and two 3rd fastest times and returned to Service happy that they had made progress. Joe said in service "Yeah that was much better this time around, we made time where we could, took no risks and for such a long rally we are happy where we are. We made some changes to the car as well which helped"

Saturday dawned brighter and drier for the pair, and as they headed out for the opening stage of the day at Grovehill, they were happy with the progress they were making and immediately set 2nd fastest time on the stage, which they duplicated on the following stage. Sadly it all came to an end on the next stage, as the car stepped out over a bump midway through the stage and slid down the road and parked itself in the ditch, and it wasn't coming out. Once the stage was opened they got the car pushed out and drove it back to Service in Milford where it was checked and readied for the Super Rally on Sunday. Joe was naturally disappointed and said at service "Its really frustrating, it really is. there was no one around to help and all it took was a couple of the lads to push and we were out on and back on the road, and very little damage done. It seems to be one of those rallies we are having.....but Hey I must thank Donegal Motor Club for running a Super Rally and letting us out again tomorrow, so thats good at least."

Team Manager Willie Woods said
"its frustrating for us all really, but thats rallying and tomorrow is another day, we can still score points in the Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland championship and thats good" Also in Service was Derek Jobb, who has prepared Joes car all year and he told us "Its been a tough few days since Monaghan really, we put in a few late nights and a lot of hours to get Joe here, and he is still going, so its ok so far and I think everyones happy enough"

So Joe and Ciaran started Day 3 of the Topaz Donegal International Rally, under Super rally rules, and headed off to the opening stages near Malin Head, and set good times on the opening stages before being caught out by the conditions and getting the car stuck once again where there were no spectators to help and that was that.

At the finish at the Mount Errigle hotel Joe was in philosophical mood about his Donegal experience
"I must admit I am surprised to be honest, as I am heading home tonight on good form, in fact I would say actually positive. We had two rallies here in three days, and I got to drive classic stages such as Atlantic Drive, Fanad, Glen and it was great, as before I have only ever seen them on DVD, we learned a lot about tyres and the team this weekend, as well as the car and how it behaves, and I just had to get to the finish here at the hotel to see Vincent Bonner. He won here before I was born, but I have seen footage of him through the town stages from years ago on you tube, heard people talk about him, and the guys a legend, I just had to be here"

Ciaran was in similar mood as well and said
"This weekend has been that old mixture of highs and lows, but its about enjoyment too, it is a cliche, but it is a sport after all, and Joe and I, and the rest of the team are here as spectators this evening, and whats more we are enjoying it. We will put all we learned this weekend down to experience and enjoy whats left of today, as Donegal Motor Club put so much effort into every aspect of this event, it would be wrong not to enjoy it, and we will head to Ulster in August in positive mood"

Joe finally added
"There are so many to thank for this weekend, Derek and all the guys that did such a great job, as usual. Seamus and Ruth for all their help, and my Dad steve for coming over"

McElhinney/Reid Race Ahead with Citroen Trophy Victory in Donegal

Posted: June 24, 2011 1:49 PM

In what was a classic third round of the Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland, it was Scott McElhinney who took a start to finish victory on his home round of the series in Donegal. Nine CRT Ireland runners lined up for the 10am start in Letterkenny on Friday morning, with six stages on the first day, featuring the classic Fanad, Atlantic Drive and Glen tests. With the right Pirelli tyres and the right attack Scott McElhinney and Karl Reid were fastest on the opening Fanad stage by six seconds from fellow Donegal man Joe McGonigle, with Killarney winner Mark Sheahan a further second behind and feeling his car was slightly down on power. Conditions were difficult with rain showers creating wet patches on the roads, and several of the crews were having big moments, including one for Joe McGonigle on the second Atlantic Drive stage, as he dropped behind Sheahan who was fastest on this stage. By the end of the third Glen stage McElhinney’s lead was 12 seconds, and he would extend this to 21 seconds by day close over Mark Sheahan. Joe McGonigle ended the leg third, Kieran Daly fourth just 11 seconds behind Joe, with Graham Colfer in his R2 specification car 13 seconds behind Kieran. Peter Barrable, Joe Shrimpton, Samantha Thom and David Carney completed the leader-board.

Day two’s opening stages were fresh tests for the Donegal Rally, with narrow slippery sections, and overnight showers, tyre choice and driving tactics were all important. Scott McElhinney and Karl Reid seemed to play the tactics perfectly and emerged from the opening loop with a 1 minute 10 second advantage. The drama unfolded behind as firstly on stage 8, Mark Sheahan retired with front suspension damage.
“We just got crossed up on a 3 left over crest on a narrow section, thought I had corrected it, but the front wheel hit the inside of the corner and we broke a wishbone. That’s rallying, that’s the way it goes.”
His mechanics replaced the front suspension and Mark continued for a while in the event in Super Rally to test the car. And so too did Joe Shrimpton. On stage 9 he simply got crossed up after a jump, went off the road and got the C2 bogged. His challenge was over, as Joe McGonigle now climbed up to second, with Kieran Daly driving a steady rally third, Graham Colfer fourth and Peter Barrable fifth. Samantha Thom in sixth with Donegal co-driver Johnny Baird was really having a ball and more confident after a short test before the event. For David Carney the drama was mechanical with a broken drive-shaft, after a very steady start on the Friday stages.

On the second run of the three morning stages, there was drama for Joe McGonigle, after hitting a chicane, struggling out of the stage with damage having lost over 2 minutes. The leader Scott McElhinney was also having a worry with a broken wheel stud, slowing slightly to preserve the car, whilst Kieran Daly and Darragh Mullen now moved up to second, their steady tactics in the Donal Healy prepared car paying off. Colfer, McGonigle and Barrable were next up.

The remainder of day two consisted of two runs over the Garrygort and the daunting Knockalla stage, scene last year of the horrific accident of CRT Ireland co-driver Thomas Maguire. The CRT runners are proudly wore commemorate “Tommy” sun-strips on the event, and the Donegal Motor Club re-routed the stage, not using that section. Once again rain showers particularly on the second run of these two stages, made tyre choice difficult and one person to drop time particularly on Garrygort was Peter Barrable, who fell behind Samantha Thom after some delays. Graham Colfer too, had an overshoot on a high speed braking area on Garrygort 2, and he was under pressure from a recovering Joe McGonigle who set fastest times on three of the loops four stages. But Scott McElhinney’s lead was now 1 minute 46 seconds over Daly.

The final day in the Innishowen area had six proper stages, before two blasts around Buncrana town in front of a huge crowd. Indeed huge crowds were out all weekend on this 40th anniversary Donegal Rally. Not a lot would change on the final day, and it was evident that leader Scott McElhinney had backed off the pace, ending the event with 48 seconds in hand over Kieran Daly, who was also conscious to avoid spins and punctures. Muff’s Joe McGonigle moved into third on the opening test, and punched in good times during the day. Graham Colfer had dropped to fourth was worse was to follow, losing 5 minutes on stage 21 and eventually taking sixth place. Samantha Thom really was consistently fast to claim fourth, with Peter Barrable further increasing his rallying experience in fifth.

At the Mount Errigal hotel finish literally thousands greeted Scott McElhinney and Karl Reid home as the Donegal town driver further increases his CRT Ireland lead.
“We had a great event. The team did a fabulous job looking after the car, and Karl on the notes. On Friday we had a good go, and got a bit of a lead, and on Saturday morning the pressure was eased when Mark went out. Really from then we were very conscious of pacing it to the finish, but it’s been a tough rally, and a great event. It certainly wasn’t easy when all of a sudden you would have a shower of rain, and we weren’t always on the right tyres.” The next round of the Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland is the Ulster Rally on 19th-20th August.

Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland- Round 3-Results
1 Scott McElhinney/ Karl Reid 2h59m58.3s
2 Kieran Daly/ Darragh Mullen +48.3s
3 Joe McGonigle/ Niall Burns +1m30.9
4 Samantha Thom/ Johnny Baird +5m41.4
5 Peter Barrable/ Paddy Robinson +6m48.9
6 Graham Colfer/ Alan Dolan +7.21.9

Results

Posted: June 24, 2011 1:29 PM

1 Tim McNulty/Paul Kiely (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 40m 40s
2 Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy (Ford Fiesta S2000) 2h 41m 59s
3 Daragh O’Riordan/Tony McDaid (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 43m 01s
4 Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 46m 22s
5 Garry Jennings/David Moynihan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 2h 49m 05s
6 Philip Morrow/Johnny Hart (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 2h 49m 06s
7 Seamus Heron/Gerry McVeigh (Toyota Corolla WRC) 2h 50m 28s
8 Alan Ring/Adrian Deasy (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 2h 55m 24s
9 Scott McElhinney/Karl Reid (Citroen C2R2 Max) 2h 59m 58s
10 Pat Kirk/Peter Ward (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 3h 00m 08s

Group N:
1 Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy
2 Garry Jennings/David Moynihan
3 Philip Morrow/Johnny Hart

Class winners:
Liam McMullan/John Coll (Honda Civic)
Scott McElhinney/Karl Reid
Paddy Walker/Gerard Mullan (Peugeot 206)
Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally

NATIONAL RALLY:
1 Daniel McKenna/Andrew Grennan (Ford Escort) 2h 48m 01s
2 John Dalton/Gwynfor Jones (Darrian T90 GTR) 2h 50m 47s
3 Brian Brogan/Damien McGettigan (Ford Escort MkII) 2h 53m 15s
4 Rodney Wilton/Conor McMahon (Ford Escort MkII) 2h 53m 23s
5 Adrian Hetherington/Gary Nolan (Ford Escort MkII) 2h 53m 58s
6 Martin McGee/Damien Fleming (Ford Escort MkII) 2h 54m 10s


Class winners:
Barry McGill/Gene McDonald (Ford Escort)
David Baird/Chriss Baird (Opel Astra)
Kevin Gallagher/Gavin Gallagher (MG S1600)
Stephen McFerran/Joe Agnew (Ford Escort)
Frank Kelly/Liam Brennan (Ford Escort)
Rodney Wilton/Conor McMahon
David Graham/Mark Vaughan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6)
Josh Moffett/Domhnall Lennon (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)

HISTORIC RALLY:
1 Mervyn Johnston/Wendy Blackledge (Mini Cooper S) 2h 02m 28s.

Class winners:
Aidan O’Connor/Ian Regan (Ford Escort)
Donal Connolly/Danny McLaughlin (Ford Escort)


JUNIOR RALLY:
1 Daniel Breslin/Johnny Jordan (Toyota Corolla) 45m 40s
2 Damien Whoriskey/Gary McKenna (Ford Escort) 46m 09s
3 Johnno Doogan/Padraig Doogan (Ford Escort) 46m 52s

Queen of Donegal aims for top finish at Donegal Rally

Posted: June 16, 2011 1:06 PM

This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the Donegal International Rally which takes place across the county from Friday 17th to Sunday 19th June, and one female rally driver is hoping to upset the odds on her home turf.

Toni Kelly is Ireland’s fastest female rally driver and at 23, the youngest too. The Donegal native will be taking part in her 6th Donegal International Rally this weekend against some of Ireland’s top drivers including Tim McNulty, Alastair Fisher and the recent Killarney Rally of the Lakes winner Daragh O’Riordan.

While Kelly’s aim is a top 10 finish and win her class she will have alongside her the experience of Brian Murphy as co-driver. Murphy won the last two Donegal Rallies as co-driver with Gareth McHale and has won the event four times in total. Kelly is confident he will be a big asset.
“To have Brian with me is great. It will certainly give me more confidence to do well and his knowledge and experience of the roads here is second to none so that will be a huge advantage I think,” she said.

Kelly’s first Donegal Rally was in 2006 and she feels as she is a native she may have a bit of an advantage.
“I probably know the rally better because I’ve done it so much. It’s nice to be able to go to your own bed every night but aside from that once we all get out there it will be different. Traditionally it’s whoever doesn’t lose the head that will do well and win the rally. It’s one of the fastest rally’s around so it’s vital to be able to control that,” she went on to say.

“I’ve definitely raised the bar this year and I want to finish top 15 or top 10 and win my class. There is no point going out there unless you set yourself high targets and once the flag goes up I’ll be going hell for leather to ensure I achieve that,” she said.

The Topaz Donegal International Rally begins at 10am on Friday 17th June in Letterkenny and will take place over nearly 320 kilometers of stages over the three days. There are over 150 entries for the rally and it is expected there will be over 60,000 spectators in attendance for what is the fourth round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

Favourite for the event and leading off on Friday morning will be Tim McNulty in his Subaru Impreza WRC. McNulty won the opening round of the Tarmac Championship in Galway and has a string of national championship victories but 2nd and 3rd seeds, Derek McGarrity and Daragh O’Riordan will be pushing hard. WRC Academy driver Alastair Fisher will be competing in the Works Ford Fiesta Super 2000, which Mikko Hirvonen drove en route to winning the Monte Carlo Rally last year, so Fisher will also be in the mix.

Alex Sinclair, Chief Executive of Motorsport Ireland, said;
“The Topaz Donegal International Rally is one of the highlights of the motorsport calendar in Ireland and with this being the 40th anniversary of the event it makes it even more special. The Donegal Rally always attracts the best competitors from across Ireland and this year is no different and it should be a fantastic event for everyone to enjoy over the weekend.”

“We hope that everyone who will be spectating will at the Rally will obey the marshals on each stage and make sure that they keep the Race In Its Place by travelling safely to and from the stages over the weekend.”

Photos: Ford Fiesta S2000 - Alister Fisher/Rory Kennedy

Posted: June 15, 2011 8:29 PM




More Photos:

Top Rally Talent Descends on Donegal!

Posted: June 15, 2011 3:50 PM

Regarded as Ireland's premier rally series, the Irish Tarmac Championship returns to action this weekend with the popular Topaz Donegal International Rally!

Some of the best drivers in Ireland are among a stunning line-up of entries for the event, which gets underway on Friday 17 June. They will be flagged off the start ramp by rally legend Markku Alen, who is making a special trip to what is the 40th running of this spectacular event.

Tim McNulty and Paul Kiely head the entry list in their Subaru Impreza WRC. Winners of the Galway International Rally earlier this year, McNulty is hoping to build on that success to put his chances of a maiden Irish Tarmac Championship title back on track.

Bidding to stop him in his tracks will be Circuit of Ireland Rally winner Derek McGarrity. Navigated by James McKee, McGarrity will use an S11 Subaru from the McKinstry Motorsport stable after his own car was damaged while hired to another competitor a couple of weeks ago.

Number three seed Daragh O'Riordan will also be in the hunt for victory. Buoyed by his success at the Killarney Rally of the Lakes, O'Riordan and navigator Tony McDaid are brimming with confidence ahead of this weekend's event.

At number four, Fermanagh's Garry Jennings and David Moynihan had hoped to return to action with a Subaru Impreza WRC, but with no cars available to hire, he will instead drive his own Group N Mitsubishi Lancer.

Seamus Leonard and John McCafferty complete the top five in their Impreza WRC, while a lot of interest surrounds the number six seeds. Accompanied by the M-Sport team, Alastair Fisher will use the same Ford Fiesta S2000 that Mikko Hirvonen drove to victory at the 2010 Monte Carlo Rally.

The remainder of the top 10 is completed by Group N crews, with Sam Moffett, Alan Ring, Donagh Kelly and Philip Morrow all driving Mitsubishi Lancers.

But what of championship leader, Kevin Barrett? He submitted a late entry, and although number 149 will adorn the side of his Impreza WRC, the Maynooth driver should be among the leading entries throughout the event.

There will be plenty of competition among the Modified Trophy crews in the National Rally, with local man Geoffrey Dolan hoping to extend his advantage with his Talbot Sunbeam. Six crews have also entered the historic category, headed by Donal Connolly and Danny McLaughlin in their Ford Escort.

Based in Letterkenny, the action gets underway this Friday and will continue through to Sunday as competitors tackle three days of high octane action.

Destination Donegal for the Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland

Posted: June 15, 2011 9:03 AM

Round three of the Citroen Racing Trophy Ireland and it’s the big one, the three day Donegal International Rally starting this Friday morning. Going into this third round of Ireland’s premier one make rally series, there are nine Citroen Racing C2 R2’s lining up for the Letterkenny start. It was on this event last year, that the Trophy had the sad loss of co-driver Tommy Maguire, in a tragic accident, and in memory of Tommy, the Trophy runners will carry a special sun-strip for this event.

After round one in West Cork, won by Kieran Daly, and the second Killarney round won by Mark Sheahan, we have joint leaders of the championship. With a second place in round one, and fourth on round two, Donegal’s Scott McElhinney holds that position with Joe Shrimpton tied on points with third places on both of the opening rounds. For Scott from Donegal town, this is his important home event, and preparations are in full swing.
“Things are going well” quipped Scott. “We had a run out on the Limerick Circuit of Munster Rally and got a few things sorted with the car. We tried a different ECU, as we felt down on power in Killarney, and it certainly made a difference, so we are hoping that will help us this weekend. After the recce, it’s interesting, as the organizers have really shook up the route this year, with a lot of new stages, which are narrow and bumpier, all the better for the C2’s actually, and reversing many of the classics. I think it’s going to be a case for us of doing our own rally and see where we are. It’s a long way round this one.”
Joint leader, Joe Shrimpton is currently having his DJ Motorsport car fixed after an off on a practice event, but he too will be one to watch, with his consistent performances so far.

Killarney winner Mark Sheahan is reckoned to be the pace setter this weekend, and he also needs to keep racking up points after his first round dramas. The first round winner Kieran Daly had his own dramas in Killarney with a blown engine. However the Cork driver has a new Oreca replacement unit fitted and this may well help the performance of his C2 R2 Max. With Mark and Kieran both on 10 points apiece, Graham Colfer is next up on 8 points following his fabulous second place in Killarney. It’s also a point to remember that Graham is in an older R2 specification C2, and it would be interesting to see what he could do with the benefit of the Max upgrade. Mayo’s David Carney is next in the Trophy with 4 points, gained from West Cork. The young Mayo driver has really picked up the pace this season after what was a learning year last year and actually challenged for the lead of the Killarney event on the opening stages, until an early error.

Peter Barrable is very much in his learning season this year, and picked up 2 points in West Cork. The Dubliner however, has upped his game, and scored a class 6 win on the Limerick Circuit of Munster, which a significant increase in pace. Cookstown lass Samantha Thom has also had a change in fortune, picking up 2 points in Killarney, and also a couple of second fastest C2 times on the second day. On the recent Monaghan Stages she also picked up the driver of the day award after a great effort, and the former Junior rally-cross ace is starting to put a few tough seasons of rallying behind her.

Donegal is also a home event for Joe McGonigle from Muff. Joe has had misfortune on the opening rounds, with a big accident on the West Cork Rally, forcing a re-shell of the C2 R2 Max. A mechanical issue forced him out early on the Killarney event, so Joe is fired up for Donegal, having driven well on the recent British Championship Jim Clark rally. One non entry is Kevin O’Connor, who is saving up to upgrade his C2 R2 to a Max. With the top four drivers in the series all picking up 4000€ a piece for their efforts so far, the Trophy with thanks to Citroen Racing, Total, Pirelli, and Charles Hurst is giving the driver’s unique rewards in Irish rallying.

Points after Round Two
1 Scott McElhinney 12pts
= Joe Shrimpton 12
3 Kieran Daly 10
= Mark Sheahan 10
5 Graham Colfer 8

Isle of Mull crew head to Topaz Donegal International Rally

Posted: June 14, 2011 10:43 AM

The Isle of Mull based crew of Eddie O'Donnell jnr / Ian Fraser head to the emerald Isle to compete on the Topaz Donegal International Rally.
The event which takes place this weekend 17th/18th/19th June covers stages in Malin ,Fanad and Inishowen area's of Donegal. This will be the first event together for the Mull pairing.
Running car 67 the boy's will be kept busy in there 2.3 Duaratec powered MkII Escort with a host of locals running behind them.
Only two Scottish crews are making the trip , the other being David Bogie in his Metro running car 12 .

Rally Legend Markku Alén to visit 2011 Topaz Donegal International Rally

Posted: June 14, 2011 9:46 AM

The Organisers of the Topaz Donegal International Rally 2011 have just given some details of a visit of Rally Legend Markku Alén, who will flag off the 40th Topaz Donegal International Rally in Letterkenny, beginning at 10.00 am on Friday 17th June 2011.

Finnish driver, Markku Alén, who began his career in Volvo’s quickly moved on to drive for Ford, spending a long career with Fiat and Lancia. He drove many of the iconic cars of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s rallying golden years, often developing the manufacturers testing facilities providing companies with the most successful cars they produced during that era.

Markku Alén will perform a number of duties while attending the rally before the week-end start in Letterkenny.

    · The Donegal Motor Club’s new office premises on Port Road, will be officially opened on Thursday afternoon at 3.pm.
    · Afterwards he will visit the Scrutiny base, at McGinley Motors at Pearse Road,. After it begins at 4pm, where he will inspect the mechanical scrutiny and the MotorSport Ireland officials who carry out the scrutineering tasks on behalf of Donegal Motor Club. This will be the first opportunity for the public to meet Markku Alén.
    · Following a visit to An Grianán Theatre to view the Esler Crawford 40 year of Donegal Rally Photographic Exhibition.
    · Later on Thursday evening, he will assist flag off the top competitors on Thursday night after 8pm in The Square, Letterkenny Main Street, at a Ceremonial Start, along with other star of TV, Formula 1 commentator Tony Jardine.
This is the first Ceremonial Start for the Topaz Donegal International Rally, and is a special 40th anniversary occasion on the County Donegal town.
The top competitors will be interviewed and will be available to sign autographs for the public.
Early on Friday morning, Markku will flag off the entire rally at 10am, from the main Start Ramp just outside An Grianán Theatre on the Port Road.

A spokesman for the Club commented:
“We are delighted that Markku Alén has decided to visit us here in Leterkenny. This is a special treat for rally fans to have such a rally legend visit and he was one of the drivers who inspired all the modern day rally drivers we now know so well.”

Forty Years of the Topaz Donegal International Rally in Photos.

Posted: June 13, 2011 9:17 AM


Photo: Esler Crawford


The Organisers of the Topaz Donegal International Rally 2011 have issued details of a special photographic exhibition to celebrate the 40th running of the Rally, which runs from June 17th – 19th next, based in Letterkenny Co. Donegal.

Belfast based photographer Esler Crawford, who has shot most of the iconic images associated with the Rally since its first running in 1971, has picked his personal favourites for exhibition at An Grianan Theatre in Letterkenny, which also hosts the start of the Rally on Friday 17th June.

A spokesman commented:
“ We are delighted that Esler agreed to help us celebrate our anniversary. He was in Donegal from the very start, and the quality of his work is unmatched. He is considered “The Maestro” by all Irish rally photographers, and his images capture the beauty of the locations and character of the people involved, as well as the action inherent in the sport. It is an honour for us to showcase his work and celebrate the Rally at the same time.”

“The exhibition will be in the two floors of An Grianan Theatre and will run from Tuesday 14th June for one week. The images will also be projected onto the large glass front of the building in a spectacular evening display. The exhibits themselves, which reflect the forty years of the Rally, will be available for sale, with the proceeds going to the Donegal Hospice.”

“A reception to launch the exhibition will be held at An Grianan Theatre, Port Road Letterkenny, at 7.30 p.m on Tuesday evening, 14th June, and all are welcome. It will prove a must-see attraction for rally fans, and for anyone interested in the history of the Rally.”

Lucey Motorsport all set for Topaz Donegal International Rally:

Posted: June 12, 2011 5:20 PM


Photo: Andrew Pollock


The Lucey Motorsport Rally Team comprising of driver Daniel Lucey from Derinagree near Millstreet and his Co-Driver Conor O`Flynn also from Millstreet in there 2 Litre Ford Escort are busy getting ready for to compete in the upcoming Donegal International Rally which is being held from the 16th June to the 19th of June based in Letterkenny.

It is 25 yr old Daniels first time competing in this Prestigious event and both he and his co-diver Conor O`Flynn are eagerly looking forward to the Challenge. As a warm up Daniel performed Course Car Duties on the recent Circuit of Munster Rally in Limerick to conclude preparations for the Donegal Event. Andrew Pollock of Retro Classics Magazine is doing an article on the Lucey Motorsport Ford Escort and as part of this a Photo Session took place a couple of weeks ago in the Grounds of Drishane Castle near Millstreet.

Lucey Motorsport would like to thank the Duggan Family for the use of this wonderful setting for the taking of these Photographs and they would also like to thank all there Sponsors,Supporters,and Friends for all their much appreciated assistance and help in getting them ready in their forthcoming Trip to Donegal.

In particular they would like to thank Andrew Pollock from Retro Classics Magazine who took some fantastic Photos of the Car and Team and some of these photos along with the article as well and should be available in the next addition of this magazine which is due out sometime in the middle of June.

Fisher secures Ford Fiesta S2000 drive for Donegal International Rally

Posted: June 10, 2011 10:16 AM

Alastair Fisher will drive a Ford Fiesta Super 2000 car in competition for the first time when he contests the Topaz Donegal International Rally next weekend. The 22-year-old from Trillick in County Tyrone will pilot the same Ford Fiesta S2000 Mikko Hirvonen took to victory on the famous Monte Carlo Rally in January 2010.

Fisher’s former navigator, the vastly experienced Rory Kennedy, will return to co-driving duties on the event, which forms round four of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

Alastair has secured sponsorship from Modern Tyre Service for the rally. The company has 26 tyre depots around Northern Ireland and is a long-term supporter of motorsport. Support has also been received from Pirelli for this demanding asphalt rally.

Stephen Shaw of Modern Tyre Service commented:
“It’s great for our company to have Alastair carrying our logo on such a high profile event like Donegal.”

Fisher, a former Fiesta one-make rally champion, said:
“A drive in a Super 2000 car is something I’ve been looking to try out since the start of this year and it’s great to be doing it in a car with a proven track record. It’s obviously something new to me but I’ve done Donegal a few times before, I’ve got some four-wheel experience as well to carry over and I know a bit about Fiestas. There is a lot to learn but hopefully I will be able to hit the ground running to a certain extent. Also the rally is 315 kilometres long so it’s a great opportunity to get plenty of experience.”

The car Fisher will drive in Donegal represents a major departure from the two-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta R2 he is using in the FIA World Rally Championship-supporting FIA WRC Academy this season. The Ford Fiesta S2000 is high-tech, relies on four-wheel drive and is powered by a high- revving 2-litre normally aspirated 300bhp engine. It is also extremely agile and rewards driver input.
“I will get a 40-kilometre test before the rally and M-Sport, which runs the factory Ford team in the World Rally Championship, will be running the car so I’ll be well looked after,” said Fisher. “We’re going to be up against World Rally Cars on very fast stages so it will be interesting to see how we compare. The most important thing is to get to the finish and get lots of experience.”

Fisher’s legendary uncle, the late Bertie Fisher, was a four-time Donegal International Rally winner between 1987 and 1995. Kennedy, who hails from the town of Letterkenny where the event is based, co-drove him on three of those occasions and Alastair is excited about working with him once again.

“Rory hasn’t missed a Donegal Rally for more than 30 years and it’s a tradition he wanted to continue,” explained Fisher. “Daniel Barritt, my regular co-driver, had no problem stepping down on this occasion because of this. It will be good to work with Rory again. He’s got great knowledge of the stages in powerful cars so he should be a big help to me.”

Fisher and Kennedy will begin their three-day reconnaissance this weekend. The 40th anniversary Donegal International Rally runs from June 17-19 and features 24 all-asphalt special stages over a competitive distance of 315 kilometres.

Special events for Competitors and Marshals mark 40th Anniversary.

Posted: June 10, 2011 7:59 AM

Donegal Motor Club has announced details of two special features of this, the 40th running of the renowned Topaz Donegal International Rally, based in Letterkenny from June 17th – 19th next.

Competitors Bar B Q at Tir Na Nog – Drivers Reception revived.

Clerk of the Course Danny Gormley said:
“On Saturday night 11th June, during the recce weekend for the Rally, competitors will be invited to a free Bar B Q at the Tir Na Nog Bar in Letterkenny. Those who sign on for the recce will be issued with passes for the evening, which should be great crack. We felt it would be good to revive the drivers reception that was a feature of the early running of the Rally, and our thanks go to Morrison Foods in Letterkenny for their support, and in particular to Tir na Nog for hosting it.

Special Prize for Marshals on Topaz Donegal International Rally 2011.

Chief Marshal of the Topaz Donegal Rally, Eamonn McGee, today announced details of very special prize on offer to Marshals at this, the 40th running of the Rally:

“We wanted to do something special to mark our thanks for the countless thousands of people over the years who have stood out in all weathers, and have come from all over Ireland and the UK – and even further – to help us run the Rally.”

“Rallytravel.com heard of our plans and got in contact to help us provide a simply stunning prize. Anyone who marshals for at least 2 days on this year’s Topaz Donegal International rally will be eligible for a draw and the winner will receive a VIP trip to Spain in October for the Spanish round of the WRC. The Rallytravel.com trips are the gold standard among rally fans, and nearly all of us have travelled with them over the years. Their help in putting this together is greatly appreciated by everyone in Donegal Motor Club”

“Anyone who wants to marshal can contact us via the event Website or by mobile on 087 – 2857247 / +353 87 – 2857247. I hope those who, like myself, have stood out in the rain marshalling at rallies, get better weather in Spain!”

The Spanish round of the WRC is the only one, apart from Rally Finland, to also host rounds of both the Super 2000 and Production Car World Championships. Based on Spain’s Costa Daurada in the Tarragona region, the seaside tourist town of Salou again hosts the service part and Rally HQ beside the Port Aventura theme park. Fair enough, its not quite Donegal (!) but the Rallytravel.com package includes:

    VIP visit to the Ford World Rally Team
    4 Star Hotel close to Shakedown, Service Area and Rally HQ.
    Access to WRC Driver’s Forum (Rally Travel Exclusive)
    Twin Room for 3 nights, with breakfast and evening meal.
    Rally Travel Information Pack including GPS and Spectating Advice
    Hire Car (Over 25, clean licence & Credit Card needed)
    Rally Travel A3 ‘OS Style’ Map Book
Further announcements of other features of the 40th Running of the Topaz Donegal International Rally will issue in the coming days.

Top 10

Posted: June 8, 2011 1:07 PM

1 Tim McNulty/Paul Kiely (Subaru Impreza WRC)
2 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC)
3 Daragh O’Riordan/Tony McDaid (Subaru Impreza WRC)
4 Garry Jennings/David Moynihan (Subaru Impreza WRC)
5 Seamus Leonard/John McCafferty (Subaru Impreza WRC)
6 Alastair Fisher/Rory Kennedy (Ford Fiesta Super 2000)
7 Sam Moffett/James O’Reilly (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN)
8 Alan Ring/Adrian Deasy (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN)
9 Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN)
10 Phillip Morrow/Jonny Hart (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN)

149 Kevin Barrett/Sean Mullally (Subaru Impreza WRC)

Topaz Donegal – The gemstone of Irish Rallying

Posted: June 8, 2011 1:05 PM

This Topaz Donegal International Rally has come up trumps once again with a scintillating 150 plus car entry, allied to a radical route change from Clerk of the Course Danny Gormley. The basic legendary ingredient remains the same, that Donegal Magic, the fascination, the aura of excitement, the place to be on the third weekend of June. It is a formula that has built up and been finely honed for over 40 years. It is no less an attraction today than it was when the infant rally was based in Kerrykeel and rapidly then became the Rally of the Rosses.

The basic challenge remains the same, man and machine racing against the clock over the demanding twists, turns and bumps of the Donegal special stage roads. As ever, the Donegal Rally has thrown up an extra equation and this year it is Mikko Hirvonen’s Monte Carlo winning works Fiesta Super 2000, to be driven by 22 year old Alastair Fisher and co-driven by three times Donegal winning co-driver Rory Kennedy.

However it will be Tim McNulty and his co-driver Paul Kiely in their Subaru Impreza WRC who will head the rally cavalcade away from Letterkenny’s An Grianan Theatre start at 10.00 on Friday morning 17th June for the three days of high speed action. This will culminate in the fabulous spectator stages at Buncrana just after 4 o’clock on the Sunday afternoon, before the victory celebration ramp at Letterkenny’s Mount Errigal Hotel at 6pm.

Tim McNulty has had a successful rally year so far, winning the opening Tarmac Championship round in Galway and also chalking up a string of National Championship victories. There have been some disappointments as well for Meath man McNulty and he will be seeking to get his Tarmac Championship back on course on this 4th round here in Donegal. Indeed, 2nd and 3rd seeds Derek McGarrity and Daragh O’Riordan have also won one round of this year’s Tarmac series, so it is all to play for here. None of the three has ever won in Donegal, and as well as Tarmac points, a Donegal victory is one every driver would love to have on his rally CV.

Derek McGarrity starts at No.2 in his Circuit of Ireland winning Impreza WRC S11. Derek, who has a holiday home on the famous Atlantic Drive, recognises that the S12 models of McNulty and O’Riordan may have a fraction of extra speed compared to the S11. However Derek feels that he can still ‘do the business’ in Donegal. Having said that, he reckons that the Donegal Rally has never been lucky for him. He has led the rally on several occasions and has finished runner-up three times, but victory has always eluded him. Interestingly, Derek feels that the route changes introduced for this year could help him, as he hasn’t competed in Donegal for 2 years.

The third element of the top trio is Cork man Daragh O’Riordan. It took Daragh a while to settle in to his Impreza S12, but then he really came good on the Killarney Rally of the Lakes, and sailed through to a very dominant win. This puts Daragh right in the Tarmac Championship frame. 29 year old Daragh was into the Donegal top ten on last year’s rally and is looking forward to doing even better this time. The Midleton man opined however.
“I think the rally will be very long, very tough.”

The driver who actually leads the Tarmac series is Maynooth’s Kevin Barrett. Kevin has Sean Mullally co-driving in his Triton Showers Impreza WRC and is seeded further down the list, but will almost certainly start alongside the top half dozen. Kevin Barrett is one of the most highly respected of Irish rally drivers and he commented about this year’s event. “Donegal is enjoyable when you finish it, but 3 days of Donegal stages will be hard on the cars, very tough.”

Garry Jennings, winner of the Donegal Harvest Rally last year, is at No.4 in an Impreza WRC and Seamus Leonard, always a front runner in Donegal, is at 5 in a similar Subaru. Alastair Fisher rounds off the top six in that fabulous M-Sport works Fiesta. Alastair has competed four times in Donegal, twice in a Fiesta and twice in a Lancer. He was leading GpN last year and was 5th o/a when the rally sadly had to be stopped. He said of his deal to drive the Fiesta Super 2000 this year.
“I really want to do Donegal in something special. I think it will be constructive for the future to do it in this type of car, and anything we achieve will be a bonus.” Co-driver Rory Kennedy, who co-drove Alastair’s late uncle Bertie Fisher to three of his four Donegal victories, said.
“I’ve co-driven for Alastair several times, and he is very good. Indeed, I think the best has yet to come, he has the Fisher steel in him!”

Behind Alastair is another young driver with a great family rallying pedigree, Sam Moffett. The young Monaghan man is very much on an upward rally curve and he could open a few eyes on this Donegal with his speed in his Gerry McGarrity prepared Lancer. The top ten is rounded off by three more drivers in GpN Lancers – Alan Ring, Donagh Kelly and Phillip Morrow. All three are recognised ‘quick men’ behind the wheel.

At 11 is reigning Scottish Champion David Bogie, fresh from winning the Jim Clark International Rally in his Lancer and then also won the associated Reivers Rally in his Metro 6R4. David was leading the National section of Donegal last year when the rally was stopped. He had been having a huge battle with Daniel McKenna in his Mk2 Escort. That battle will be resumed this year and Daniel is seeded just behind the Metro. However that’s just the tip of the iceberg as regards the anticipated battle between the Modified contenders, principally the ‘Mk2 Escort Men’. Their determination to go for a good result fully encapsulates the legendary ‘Donegal Rally Fever”!
A very special entry this year is that of Vincent Bonner. Vincent won the rally in 1983 and was the first Donegal man to take victory on his home rally. He will be driving a Mick McQuaid Mark 2 Escort. The Escort is going to be in the same livery as the car that won in 1983. His co-driver from those heady days, Seamus McGettigan will be in the hot seat again this time.

There is a lot more interest in store on this Topaz Donegal Rally. As well as being a round of the Tarmac Championship, the event is a counter in the Citroen Racing Trophy, where drivers such as Limerick’s Mark Sheahan are expected to set the pace. There is a Historic category in the rally and also a Junior section, so all in all the roads from Fanad Head on the Friday and on down to the Inishowen Peninsula on Sunday will be mighty busy!

Press Reception - Tuesday 7th June 2011 - 8pm

Posted: June 7, 2011 2:04 PM

PRESS RECEPTION on Tuesday 7th June 2011 in Kelly’s Toyota Port Road, Letterkenny at 8.00p.m. to announce details of the
2011 TOPAZ Donegal International Rally Ireland

Time and Distance Schedule

Posted: June 7, 2011 9:38 AM

Available at:

Rally Programmes

Posted: June 7, 2011 9:34 AM

Rally Programmes available to order on line:

Details:

Alistair Fisher/Rory Kennedy to Drive M-Sport Fiesta S2000

Posted: June 3, 2011 7:54 AM

Irish rallying sat bolt upright this evening at the news that M-Sport, the official works rally team for the Ford Motor Company, will appear at Ireland’s premier tarmac rally.

And two very famous Irish names will be in it. Fermanagh’s Alistair Fisher, with Donegal’s Rory Kennedy co-driving, will pilot the Works Ford Fiesta Super 2000 car that won the Monte Carlo Rally in 2010 in the hands of works driver Mikko Hirvonen. Kennedy was co-driver for the late Bertie Fisher, Alistair’s uncle, the most successful crew in Irish tarmac history.

“Alistair has been working on this for some time and we are delighted that M-Sport will once again appear in Donegal. The car is fantastic and we can’t wait to get it out onto Donegal’s classic stages. Alistair is running at the front in the FIA’s new WRC Academy, with a different spec Ford Fiesta and led the field on the WRC round in Portugal last month with it. He has the pace and will be pushing hard.”

A spokesman for Donegal Motor Club said:
“This is fantastic news for the event and for Irish rallying. It will be great to have the M-Sport team in Donegal again. We suspect a few of the top seeds will be sleeping a lot less easily from now until the rally starts on June 17th next.”

Rally programmes will be published shortly and may be pre-ordered on the Topaz Donegal International Rally website at:

“Epic Adventure” ahead on Topaz Donegal International Rally

Posted: June 1, 2011 10:48 AM

Details are now being released of the scale of the 40th Running of the Topaz Donegal International Rally, which takes place from June 17 – 19th next. It appears competitors are in for an epic weekend of motorsport on Donegal’s famous rally stages.

Clerk of the Course Danny Gormley commented:
“We decided to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the rally by recreating the challenge of the first one. That had 38 stages, a huge stage mileage and little service time. While we can’t stretch to that, there are big changes for 2011, brand new stages, and a competitive distance of almost 320 Kms. There will be a sense of adventure and we might even see the return of some tactical driving. Mind you, going on past experience, the chances of that are slim!”

“I can report that the entry list is virtually full at the moment, but going by the dropout rate in previous years we expect to fit a few more in. Anyone still thinking of an entry should contact us at donegalrally.ie as soon as possible. Our accomodation officer holds special rates, reserved for competitors beside Rally HQ, and is also on the website.”

“As ever, we are looking forward to a safe weekend for our competitors and also for all the visitors to the County. This year in particular we are asking rally supporters attending the Topaz Donegal International Rally to join with Donegal Motor Club’s campaign, in conjunction with the Road Safety Authority, to “Keep the Race in its Place”.

“The Rally will start from An Grianan Theatre on Friday morning 17th June, with the cars on view at Parc Ferme each evening at Letterkenny Institute of Technology. It will finish at its ‘ancestral home’ at Rally HQ, the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny, on Sunday evening. I wish to thank all of these flagship Letterkenny institutions for their continuing support.”

“Our 40th anniversary rally programme, with full details of the entry, route maps and feature articles will be available for sale in the week starting 6th June and a list of the outlets will be posted on the website.”

“More information will follow shortly. I can assure both competitors and the 60,000 spectators expected to attend, that we are working hard to ensure the Topaz Donegal International Rally 2011 echoes the sense of adventure and fun started by the first rally back in 1971.”

NEW 3 YEAR SPONSORSHIP DEAL FOR TOPAZ DONEGAL INTERNATIONAL RALLY / RALLY PREPARES TO CELEBRATE ITS 40th BIRTHDAY

Posted: May 18, 2011 3:22 PM


The Topaz Donegal International Rally Ireland launch took place at Lyrath Estate Hotel, Kilkenny.
In attendance at the launch (left to right) : CEO of Topaz Ireland, Eddie O’Brien
Irish Tarmac Champion Rally Champion Gareth MacHale,
Clerk of the Course Donegal Motor Club Danny Gormley,
and Donegal Motor Club Chairman, Damian Crawford.


A new sponsorship deal has been announced for the Topaz Donegal International Rally.

The three year sponsorship deal coincides with the 40th Anniversary of the Rally.

Over 150 drivers from all over the country will participate in this year’s Topaz Donegal International Rally which takes place from Friday 17th -19th June 2011. It is estimated the Rally, which is the only 3 day rallying event in the country is worth up to €25m to the local economy.

The Clerk of the Course, Danny Gormley paid tribute to Topaz for their ‘tremendous support’ of the event. “The Topaz Donegal International Rally is the biggest annual sporting event in the northern half of the country and we could not stage an event of this magnitude without the extremely generous financial support of Topaz. This year we are celebrating our 40th birthday and the signing of a new three year deal is a vote of confidence in the event and a huge boost for the North West as a whole” Gormley said.

Topaz Chief Executive Eddie O’Brien said the company was delighted to sign a new sponsorship deal with the Donegal Motor Club. “Since the first Rally in 1971, this event has enjoyed a reputation as Ireland’s leading rally. Initiatives such as the town stage in Buncrana means the event continues to enjoy huge support and this year will attract up to 70,000 spectators. As an Irish owned and managed company we know how important the Rally is to the local economy, particularly the tourism sector and we wish the Rally and all associated with it, continued success” O’Brien said.

Danny Gormley paid tribute to over 700 stewards and officials who will help police the event and thanked the people along the route for their support. “Without the hard-work and dedication of the hundreds of stewards and officials and the goodwill of the people of Donegal this event simply could not take place. We thank one and all for their continued support” Gormley concluded.

The Topaz National Rally, including the spectacular MK 2 Ford Escorts, runs for the full 3 days, with the two day Topaz Historic Rally starting on Saturday and the Topaz Junior Section on Sunday.

New Event Website

Posted: May 9, 2011 7:47 PM

The Donegal motor club are proud to announce the launch of their new international website www.donegalrally.ie.
The website will give, competitors, spectators marshals and organisers all the information need to come to Donegal for what is truly going to be a special and great weekend..!

Regulations and entry forms are now available to download from the website so get on and get your entries in..
With an increase in stage miles from last year this years event is set to be tough and testing for both competitors and machinery.
Spectators as always are in for a big treat as they are every year in Donegal so keep checking the website for more details.

Regulations / Details

Posted: January 2, 1990 3:02 PM

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