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2006 Donegal International Rally - 16-18 Jun 06

Posted: June 23, 2006 4:59 PM - 52655 Hits

Round 4 - 2006 Tarmac Rally Championship

  • More Video Clips
  • Gareth Jones - Highs and rolls in Donegal
  • John McLaughlin Press Release
  • Links to Photos and Video Clips Fixed
  • Photos
  • Video Clips

Posted: June 23, 2006 4:59 PM

Highs and rolls in Donegal
Gareth Jones was on course for a sensational result on the Shell Donegal Rally when he rolled his JCB Financed-backed Subaru Impreza WRC2004 out of the event on SS10.

In damp and very slippery conditions, the 26-year old Welshman had started the fourth round of the 2006 Pirelli Irish Tarmac Rally Championship brilliantly – beating former World Rally Champion Colin McRae and reigning British Rally Champion Mark Higgins on the opening Rooskey stage. In one of the best entries ever seen on an Irish rally, Gareth and his co-driver David Moynihan continued to match the ferocious pace of leading locals and were up to 2nd at one point before finishing Leg 1 in 3rd place. This left the young Welsh challenger ahead of no less then four previously crowned Irish Tarmac Champions and with just 20.1 seconds separating the first six cars it was sure to be a relentless battle Saturday.

Heavy rain was falling when the top cars left Letterkenny at the start of Leg 2 the following morning, but the slippery asphalt roads weren’t Gareth’s only problem. An intercom failure made it impossible for Gareth to hear his co-driver call the vital pace notes on the Cark Mountain stage and at this red-hot pace anything less than a perfect run through a stage would be severely punished. Gareth held his nerve to keep the time lost to a minimum, but the problem cost him two places as he dropped to 5th.

One stage later and Gareth had climbed back to 4th and his challenge for victory in Co. Donegal looked back on track when on SS10 – the second run through the Cark Mountain test – he crashed on a fast uphill right hander and rolled his Dom Buckley Motorsport-prepared Subaru onto its roof. He was quickly back on his wheels and continued the stage having lost two minutes, but Gareth was forced to retire from the event as the car’s clutch had failed.

"We'd had a few minor problems, but we were going really well and I was happy with our pace and position in the rally," said Gareth. “We came to this fifth gear right hand corner and the back of the car stepped out a bit. Unfortunately a rear wheel dropped off the road and into a ditch, which pushed the car into a bank and onto the roof. There wasn’t a lot of damage and we managed to continue the stage, but the clutch had failed and our rally was over."

Gareth's next event will be the fifth round of the 2006 Pirelli Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the Jim Clark Memorial Rally, in the Scottish borders on July 7-8.

The Shell Donegal International Rally, round four of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, presented a difficult challenge for the series leaders Eugene Donnelly and Paul Kiely. Armed with the familiar Esker Corolla WRC they set out as favourites, having won the rally for the past two years. With a line up including young World Rally drivers Gareth MacHale and Matthew Wilson, in 2005 Focus WRC’s, four times Donegal winner Andrew Nesbitt and former British Rally Champion Mark Higgins in works Mitsubishi Lancer’s, Tim McNulty and Derek McGarrity in the latest Subaru’s, Eamon Boland, Austin MacHale in Focus WRC’s and even World Rally legend Colin McRae in a Metro 6R4, Eugene was a bit pensive about his chances in the older generation Corolla WRC.

It was Subaru armed Kevin Lynch who stole the early march, in his S9 Impreza, with Eugene just three seconds off the lead after three tests. The timesheets show that Eugene took the lead by 0.06 seconds after stage four, and was just 1.9 seconds back from Lynch after stage five, but all was not as simple as that. “The car arrived at the end of the test on fire. The marshals did a superb job of putting it out, and we didn’t loose any time on the stage. The pump feeding the hydraulic box, failed, but it was spraying oil onto the exhaust which in turn burnt the pipe to regulate the turbo, meaning that we had no boost.” With the car giving a maximum of 78 kilometres an hour top speed, they started the next test down the field for safety reasons, running two minutes ahead of a considerate Kevin Barrett on stage six. A three and half minute road penalty for running out of order, which the organisers without question removed because of the safety aspect, had Eugene back in 55th, and he found himself in an overnight 27th place with the penalty removed. The McGeehan Motorsport team met applause in the Letterkenny service area from the huge crowd for getting the Corolla back on full song for the tough ten stage Saturday loop.

Over three and half minutes back all hope of victory in the Kingspan car was gone, but nevertheless they started the Saturday loop of ten stages in a spirited fashion. “We were pleased with our times over the Saturday tests, especially the first run over Knockalla, were we were only five seconds off Andrew Nesbitt’s time.” Andrew Nesbitt, the eventual winner was on a huge charge taking him into the rally lead, from being sixth, but Eugene had worked his way back to eleventh overall by close of the longest day. Rain blessed the final day’s six tests, suiting the car, the Kumho tyres and the team beautifully. Once again the Kelly’s Toyota Corolla rocketed up the leaderboard to eventually finish sixth, scooping fourth placed points in the process, and the cheer at the Mount Errigal Hotel finish was as loud as the winners. “The spectators have been brilliant this weekend, giving me a lot of encouragement, saying. “Keep goin, you never know what will happen” and things like that. I was pleased at our stage times, even though we weren’t fighting for a win, and really we must look at our championship points situation going into the Jim Clark Rally. The pace at this event was unbelievable, and I must say that the top three or four were really pushing hard.” Eugene still has nine point lead over Eamon Boland who finished just a minute ahead in fifth, with the next round of this enthralling series in Scotland on July 6th-8th. Is

Connor McCloskey was rejoined by Crawford Henderson for an all too short Donegal International Rally this weekend.

Partnered by Damien Connolly, Connor’s previous outing had placed him inside the top twenty on the Pirelli International Rally in May, but the regular Irish Tarmac Championship pairing fared less well on the Letterkenny based event. “We were really looking forward to Donegal and the preparations had gone without a hitch.” said the crestfallen youngster in the service area on Friday morning.

The reason for his dejection was to be seen on the in car camera footage from the first stage, which he watched over and over in an attempt to rationalise his premature departure from the event. “Look!” he said, pointing at the screen, “we were a mile in and I’d braked at the end of the straight – no problem. “ But the video image showed the steering wheel turn right, and the car go off the road and into a ditch.

“The only damage to the car is a small dent in the wing but there were no spectators and we were stuck there for ages.” shrugged Connor, “I can only assume that the tyres were still cold, but we were over a mile into the stage and the grip felt OK on the previous corners.” He shrugged again, “Crawford had slowed me down in good time at the end of a long straight and I had it in second gear for the tight right, I just can’t believe it.”

The retirement was more galling since the pair didn’t post any times to check their improvement from previous events. But it hasn’t prevented them from entering the next round of the British Rally Championship, the Jim Clark Rally in early July. “We’re still committed to doing the next round of the BRC,” said Connor, “and I suppose we can learn from the experience but right now I’m off home for a long and early bath.”

The Jim Clark Rally is based in Kelso in the Scottish Borders and the pair will be hoping to improve on their 2005 third place in the Mitsubishi Evolution Challenge.

Connor and the team would like to thank Egger (wood based panels), The Fisher Foundation, Euro Components, KBB Doors, Pirelli and Shell Racing Fuels for their continuing support in 2006

John McLaughlin Press Release
Cookstown’s John McGlaughlin finished sixth in Group N at last weekend’s Shell Donegal International Rally, round four of the Pirelli Irish Tarmac Championship. Navigated by David McElroy, the McGlaughlin’s Bakery team were overjoyed with the result after their Killarney International Rally disappointment.

“I had a big accident in Killarney last month,” John said, “so I was very nervous at the start. I didn’t have any expectations for the weekend, I just wanted to build up my confidence again.”

Entering any round of the Irish Tarmac series is a daunting prospect, with most events averaging almost 200 miles of competition. But the prospect of competing in Donegal for the first time, one of the most famous and competitive rallies in the country, did little to settle John’s nerves.

“Everything felt good over the Friday’s stages,” John said after the event. “So we decided to have a push later on Saturday but the gearbox started jumping out of gear. We didn’t have fourth gear but luckily Kieron Graffin gave us his spare gearbox in service.”

The Greenvale Hotel and Hilltop Fuels sponsored crew were late into service and incurred some road penalties but with the gearbox fixed, they were ready for another attack on the stages. No less than 25 seconds quicker than their first run over Knockalla, everything was working well and they finished the second leg ninth in Group N.

With two days of hard rallying behind them, the nerves had finally settled. Everything was working well in the Sunoco Fuels and Kumho Tyres camp, and the speed was gradually coming back. On Sunday’s second stage, John started catching other competitors but the event had a sting in its tail. While holding sixth in class, John almost threw it all away on the very slippery final stage.

“There was very little grip in places and we spun twice at hairpins during Atlantic Drive,” John recalled. “I was afraid another competitor was going to catch us so I pushed on. Then the rear of the car stepped out and went down into a hedge! I thought ‘here we go again’ but I kept the power on and luckily she pulled herself out of it.”

“But that wasn’t the end of it!” John continued. “There was a lot of water running across the road at the finish line and the car started to aquaplane. It was heading straight towards a wall and, only by sheer luck, about one centimetre away from it she pulled into line again. It was close!”

John wasn’t alone with his final stage exploits as event winner, Andrew Nesbitt, also had a close call on the test. The Cookstown man was in good company but he survived to tell the tale, and came home with sixth in class to show for his efforts.

The McGlaughlin Lancer is back on track and while there are no plans in place to contest the Jim Clark or Manx International rallies due to budget constraints, John is planning to enter a few ‘smaller’ events for a bit of fun!
Mitsubishi 1st and 2nd overall
Andrew Nesbitt scores record fifth victory
Mark Higgins finishes a strong second
Lancer WRC05s prove 100% reliable

Andrew Nesbitt and Mark Higgins scored a sensational one-two finish for Mitsubishi in this weekend’s Donegal International Rally, their Lancer WRC05s running faultlessly throughout the event, securing a perfect result for the Mitsubishi Team’s first full assault on a round of the Irish Tarmac Championship.

Within a fortnight of the event, Nesbitt and Higgins secured deals with MMSP to provide a pair of Lancer WRCs to contest the Donegal Rally. After testing on Monday and Tuesday of last week both drivers were pleased to have quickly established a competitive set-up for the cars to suit the unique characteristics of Irish roads.

Looking to achieve success in Ireland, the Mitsubishi team was keen to provide Nesbitt and Higgins its full support and consequently sent its top WRC technicians and full resources to Donegal.

Starting and finishing in Letterkenny, the event featured 22 special stages over three days - 16/17/18th June and, with Donegal Rally accepted as being the most prestigious in the International Tarmac Championship calendar, the entry list read like a who’s who of rallying in Ireland.

Even after a successful test earlier in the week, Fridays six stages did not go as well as the Mitsubishi team had anticipated, with both Nesbitt and Higgins commenting that the selection of tyres did not suit the wet Irish asphalt. Subsequently, at the end of the first day, Nesbitt held 7th place overall and Higgins 10th - the 2005 British Rally Champion experiencing a frustrating start, admitting he had not settled into a rhythm.

But what a difference a day makes! Armed with a new set of Pirelli tyres, Saturday saw Nesbitt and Higgins set first and second fastest times on all but one of the day’s 10 stages. Such was the pace of the Mitsubishi pair, Nesbitt muscled his way into first place on SS9, with Higgins hot on his heals and claiming second place on SS13.

At the end of the second leg Nesbitt held a 22.0 second advantage ahead of Higgins who was in turn 35.3 seconds ahead of 3rd placed Gareth MacHale in a Ford Focus. With both Mitsubishis and the Pirelli tyres working perfectly, Nesbitt and Higgins looked unstoppable, the drivers opting to consolidate their positions at the head of the field for Sunday’s remaining six stages.

However, a few nervous moments were encountered in the final two stages, when Higgins slid wide on SS21 and clipped a tree. But fortunately, although the car was damaged, only 20 seconds were lost.

Nesbitt also had a moment – his being on the final stage when he overshot a junction and lost 15 seconds. Thankfully both Mitsubishi drivers were comfortably ahead of the rest of the field and, when cars returned to Letterkenny for the finish, Nesbitt claimed his fifth Donegal Rally victory. Higgins ended the event 26.6 seconds behind his Mitsubishi team-mate and 28.8 seconds ahead of MacHale.

Nesbitt, from Armagh, was co-driven by James O’Brien from Mallow, Co. Cork. Higgins, from Carno, North Wales, was co-driven by Rory Kennedy who hails from the rally’s host town of Letterkenny. Each crew recorded seven fastest stage times.

The Mitsubishi team hopes that its impressive performance in Donegal will herald the start of a series of outings for its Lancer WRCs in Ireland, UK and Europe during the remainder of this year. It is also in the process of securing a deal which will see Mitsubishi competing as a Manufacturer 2 team in the 2007 World Rally Championship.

Andrew Nesbitt - Driver
“What an amazing rally – and an amazing car! Considering this is my first event for five months and having had just a few hours testing in the Lancer before this event, to win is just fantastic. I cannot praise the car, the team and the Pirelli tyres enough.”
“The Lancer handled superbly – especially over the jumps – it’s on a different level to anything else I’ve driven before. Also, to have the professionalism of Mitsubishi’s WRC resources and the experience of the engineers behind me was a tremendous asset. I look forward to working with the team again.”

Mark Higgins - Driver
“Other than driving just a couple of stages a few years ago this is my first real experience in Donegal, so I’m pleased with second. If I had got off to a better start and hadn’t had the off on the second-to-last stage, things would have been very close with Andrew - although he really was on form this weekend. First and second is a great result for the team and I really enjoyed driving the Lancer, it worked so well on these roads and never missed a beat.”

John Easton – MMSP Ltd Operations Director
“Our pre-rally test was in the dry, so we had to tweak the suspension settings on Friday. Once we had done this and sorted out our choice of tyres on Friday, Andrew and Mark went onto set 14 fastest stage times.”
“You can’t ask for more than for first and second overall. It's the perfect result. But it wasn't easy, as we were competing against a top class Irish entry. I am also delighted that all of our service halts were just routine affairs, the cars proving to be 100% reliable throughout the event.”

Reigning Irish Group N tarmac rally champion Garry Jennings had planned to contest this weekend's Donegal International Rally in a borrowed World Rally Car, but instead took the wheel of his regular Mitsubishi Evolution 9.

Garry's plans had changed several times before the start of the event in Letterkenny on Friday but the eventual decision to use the Group N car meant he could battle on level terms with old Peugeot rival Shaun Gallagher. Jennings and Letterkenny's Gallagher won the French make's one-make series in 2002 and 2003 respectively, so the battle in the Donegal lanes was always going to be exciting.

The Autocar Logistics liveried car set off on the three day rally shod with medium compound Kumho slicks on the front and soft on the rear, " The tyres were spot on, " commented Jennings after the first loop of stages, "but the new brake pads weren't fully bedded-in and it took a stage to get rid of the soft brake pedal." The rain in the morning had washed the roads but the breeze soon dried them and Garry was happy with his progress. "It’s really fast out there," he said,” and Shaun lives just down the road so he knows the area. But he's not the only threat, Seamus Leonard is going well too and they're both just ahead after three stages."

Garry had teamed up with the experienced Damien Connolly as both regular co-drivers Rory Kennedy and James O'Brien had seats alongside the works Mitsubishi drivers. "Damien is doing a great job," said Garry,” and he's done the event often enough to know the tricky bits." Service was a routine affair with the brakes bled, fresh tyres and a spanner check, giving the KG Motorsport mechanics time to take a breather before their next three cars arrived.

The next three stages were a repeat of the first loop but there was a problem on stage four which meant several competitors were given notional times. It was also the stage where Garry moved up to second in class after Leonard spent a minute and a half in a ditch. Stage five saw the crew consolidate the position with a fastest time, closing the gap on Gallagher to 15.8 seconds, slipping just 1.5 seconds further back by the close of Friday.

Saturday dawned cold and wet and the pair gambled on Kumho’s cut slicks for the opening two stages. “We dropped twenty seconds to Shaun on those two,” said Garry, “I just wasn’t brave enough on slicks in the wet.” The times still left them eighteen seconds clear of Roy White in third and by the second run through they had the right tyres, managing to pull 32 seconds clear of the fellow Mitsubishi driver. The battle with Gallagher was fierce, swapping tenths of seconds on the two stages. On nine they beat him by a tenth of a second and on stage ten Gallagher took half a second back, it couldn’t have been much closer.

After service the fight continued with Gallagher just a tenth quicker, but part way through Garry backed off after what he thought was an engine noise. The crew eventually agreed it had been the gearbox, so on twelve and thirteen they listened intently but it didn’t recur; however they decided to get the lads to change the ‘box at service.

Changing a Mitsubishi Evo gearbox in thirty minutes is a tall order, but Kieron (Graffin) and his KG Motorsport team were confident it could be done. After a frantic half hour the car arrived at the service-out control with seconds to spare, Garry and Damien full of praise for the lads.

Unfortunately stage thirteen before service would prove their last, as the real cause of the noise became clear before the next arrival control. “The transfer box is in a separate housing which we didn’t change and we think something inside it let go in a big way.” explained a grim-faced Jennings, “We won’t know for sure what it is until the car has been stripped.”

The only consolation was that the car stopped outside a pub from where Garry and Damien contemplated how to set about funding the next event, the Jim Clark rally in July.

The Autocar Logistics team would like to thank its sponsors: Kumho Tyres, Walker Contracts, J&M Enterprises, Sligo Pallets Sydare Eggs, Euro Auto Salvage, OMP, Shell Racing Fuels and KG Motorsport for their continuing support.

1 Andrew Nesbitt/James O'Brien (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC) 02:32:12
2 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC) 02:32:38
3 Gareth MacHale/Paul Nagle (Ford Focus WRC) 02:33:07
4 Derek McGarrity/Chris Patterson (Subaru Impreza WRC) 02:33:26
5 Eamon Boland/Francis Regan (Ford Focus WRC) 02:35:28
6 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Toyota Corolla WRC) 02:36:29
7 Austin MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC) 02:36:51
8 Paul Harris/Eugene O Donnell (Toyota Corolla WRC) 02:39:19
9 Patrick Elliott/Paul Goodman (Subaru Impreza WRC) 02:39:45
10 Stephen Murphy/Michael J Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC) 02:42:29

Donegal 06: Leaders after:
SS1-3 Kevin Lynch/Allan Harryman (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS4 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Toyota Corolla WRC)
SS5-8 Kevin Lynch/Allan Harryman (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS9-22 Andrew Nesbitt/James O'Brien (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)

Stage Winners:
SS1 Kevin Lynch/Allan Harryman (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS2 Kevin Lynch/Allan Harryman (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS3 Kevin Lynch/Allan Harryman (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS4 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Toyota Corolla WRC)
SS5 Andrew Nesbitt/James O'Brien (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS6 Andrew Nesbitt/James O'Brien (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS7 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS8 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS9 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS10 Gareth MacHale/Paul Nagle (Ford Focus WRC)
SS11 Andrew Nesbitt/James O'Brien (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS12 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS13 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS14 Andrew Nesbitt/James O'Brien (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS15 Andrew Nesbitt/James O'Brien (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS16 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS17 Andrew Nesbitt/James O'Brien (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS18 Gareth MacHale/Paul Nagle (Ford Focus WRC)
SS19 Andrew Nesbitt/James O'Brien (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS20 Mark Higgins/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer WRC)
SS21 Gareth MacHale/Paul Nagle (Ford Focus WRC)
SS22 Derek McGarrity/Chris Patterson (Subaru Impreza WRC)
  • ‘The Theatre of Dreams’
  • Nesbitt & Higgins test Mitsubishi Lancer WRCs - Photos available
  • MacHale Donegal Double Header
  • Gareth Jones returns to Donegal – But this time To Win!
  • Higgins and Nesbitt to drive Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05s
  • Entry Lists on line.
  • Accommodation available for competitors
  • SHELL DONEGAL FINDS THE HOLY GRAIL – Colin McRae to compete in Metro 6R4.
  • Regulations available

‘The Theatre of Dreams’
With just days to go to the start of this year’s Shell Donegal International Rally, rally fans are rubbing their eyes in disbelief at the entry list. Already bursting with quality, it has taken on a ‘theatre of dreams’ dimension with the announcement that the Works Mitsubishi Rally team will field two cars. One for Andrew Nesbitt, the multiple Donegal Rally winner and Irish Tarmac Champion, and another for Mark Higgins - the current and multiple British Rally Champion.

This comes on top of the news that Colin McRae, the biggest name in World Rallying, has entered the Donegal event in a MG Metro 6R4. It’s going to be some rally.

  Already two of the hottest tips for future World Rally stardom, Gareth McHale and Matthew Wilson, occupy the number 1 and 2 seeds in Focus WRC cars as FIA ‘B’ seeded drivers. Now their battle is mirrored by that between Higgins and Nesbitt, not just for supremacy between each other, but also, quite probably, for the rally win as well. Higgins is a contracted ‘Works’ driver, but Nesbitt’s speed in Donegal is legendary.

  Current tarmac champion Eugene Donnelly, the rally winner for the last two years, is at number 4 in the Corolla WRC. His intense Pirelli Tarmac series battle is joined with Tim McNulty and Derek McGarrity in Subaru S11 WRC cars and Eamonn Boland in a Focus WRC.

  For rally fans it doesn’t get much better than this. Or does it? Austin McHale, Ireland’s most successful driver, is in another Focus. He leads over 20 rally winners in the 2006 Donegal entry. National Champions Paul Harris, Niall Maguire and Stephen Murphy are there, so too is National Forest Champion Kevin Lynch. Gareth Jones has come from Wales and Garry Jennings is going in a Subaru WRC! The first 20 cars on the road will all be WRCs, a feat not seen anywhere else in World rallying this year.

  The Group N battle has virtually every car and driver combination of note in the country. And then there’s Jon Milner, British rally Champion several times, now in a state of the art Mitsubishi Lancer, joining the party. Locals James Cullen, a double winner of the Donegal, and Shaun Gallagher who led last year, will fight Colm Murphy, Roy White, Seamus Leonard, Willie Fannin, Philip Morrow and Michael Curran for honours. This battle is absolutely wide open.

  But for many fans the real rally starts with car 42, the Ford Escort Mk 2 of Phil Collins. Behind him lies a galaxy of two wheel drive talent, and spectacular rally cars: Damien Gallagher, Camillus Bradley, Robbie Peoples, Dessie Keenan, Eugene Ferry, Ollie O’Reilly, Wesley Patterson, the legendary Steve Bannister from England, Martin McGee, Paul Barrett, and Brian Brogan all line up in Escorts while Paul Gallagher rolls out his potent Toyota Corolla. This is a rally in itself, and the one most fans will stay to watch. Ahead of them all is last year’s winner of the National section, Ivan Stewart in an Escort Cosworth, but John D’Alton in the Darrian may turn out to be favourite.

  Clerk of the Course Danny Gormley has issued a further appeal for marshals: “It looks like this is going to be a memorable event, which is fitting in it’s 35th anniversary year, and we want to make sure everyone enjoys it in safety. Our marshals’ hotline is 087-2857247 and I would appeal to all enthusiasts and marshals to get in contact as soon as possible.”

  The Rally starts at 11.25 a.m. from An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny on Friday morning 16th June. Real drama is set to follow.

Further details on the rally available on:
Photos from Nesbitt & Higgins' Mitsubishi test at:
MacHale Donegal Double Header
This weekends Shell Donegal International rally will see the Ireland's WRC star and Billy Coleman award winner Gareth MacHale go head to head with his five times tarmac champion father Austin along with a host of international drivers and tarmac regulars. The MacHale team pairing will use Sanyo Air Conditioners backed Ford Focus world rally cars, with Gareth piloting the 2005 car that he used to great effect so far in the WRC including his outstanding result in the rally Mexico where he scored three world championship points. Gareth's father Austin will drive the WRC03 car that he has used in the past two years in the tarmac championship.

The rally has an impressive top twenty entry with a wealth of WRC machinery being lead of the start ramp on Friday morning by Gareth and his co-driver Paul Nagle. The event will see Gareth return to the tarmac roads of Ireland where he has not competed since rally Ireland back in March where Gareth lead the rally until being forced to retire after being caught out by fog on the first loop of Sunday morning stages. "I am really looking forward to the rally, it is great to compete on my home stages and in front of a home crowd. Donegal is always a fantastic rally and as a child I always looked forward to the event heading there with my father" said Gareth as he prepared for the event. Gareth and Paul will use the Donegal tarmac stages as an opportunity to prepare for Rally Deutschland in August where the crew will return to their WRC campaign competing on their first tarmac WRC event since Catalunya in March.

This years Donegal rally will take on a similar format as previous years with crews tackling traditional stages like Knockalla and Atlantic Drive. "The stages in Donegal are tricky and of course the weather can provide its own challenge with tyre choice crucial, there are also a lot of quick drivers in the top ten it will be a tough rally" said Gareth. The event will see the young Irish pairing continue their battle with Ford 'B' team driver Mattew Wilson who is making the trip from the UK for the event. BRC champion Mark Higgins is also entered in one of two Mitsubishi Lancer WRC with the second of the Ralliart cars been driven by Andrew Nesbitt and Colin McRae's Metro 6R4 is sure to attract a lot of interest and support from Irish rally fans.

Gareth will continue his preparation for Germany with a planned visit to this years Jim Clarke rally later in the summer, Rally Germany will be followed one week later by Rally Finland.

More Details:
Gareth Jones returns to Donegal – But this time To Win!
The forthcoming Shell Donegal International Rally is one of only two events in the 2006 Pirelli Irish Tarmac Rally Championship calendar that Gareth Jones has done before. Because of that the 26-year Old Welsh driver is aiming for victory when he tackles the famous Irish event for a second time. If successful, Gareth will become the first non-Irish driver to win the event since fellow Welshman David Llewellin in 1989.

Based in Letterkenny, the Shell Donegal Intrernational Rally is one of Ireland's toughest challenges. Classic stages like Knockalla and Atlantic Drive are only for the brave and skilful, and the event annually attracts one of the best rally entries in the world.

This year is no exception – 1995 World Rally Champion Colin McRae has placed an entry in his Group B Metro 6R4 Supercar. The summer break in the FIA World Rally Championship will see Matthew Wilson and Gareth MacHale drive their Ford Focus WRC cars. Add to this the cream of Irish rally talent, including 2005 Irish Champion and current 2006 Championship leader Eugene Donnelly who is aiming to become only the second driver in the history of the event to take three wins in a row.

Over 35 World Rally Cars are expected to start the three-day action packed event on June 16th – amongst them Gareth's stunning yellow Prodrive Engineered supported Subaru Impreza WRC.

Since finishing 4th overall and setting some stunning fastest stage times on the recent Killarney International Rally of the Lakes, Gareth's ex- Petter Solberg works Impreza WRC2004 has been re-prepared by Dom Buckley Motorsport. A brief test to make sure everything is in perfect working order is all that's required before Gareth and co-driver David Moynihan start Round 4 of Pirelli Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

''I finished sixth in Donegal last year and as it's one of the few Irish rallies that I've done before knowing the stages will be a big advantage, for me compared to the previous rounds of the Championship. I have good pace notes from 2005, so during the recce I'll only have to fine tune them, rather than start from a blank piece of paper like I've done in the previous three rallies this year. You can't beat experience on stages like Knockalla and Atlantic Drive, and even though I've only done the rally once before compared to the endless years the Irish Driver's have competed over these classic stages I'll be going out to try and win it this time.

''The Donegal Rally always attracts a big crowd of spectators and this year it's going to be massive. The entry is fantastic and with Colin McRae there as well the atmosphere is going to be amazing. I'm going to try and put on a good show and do my best – and if it all goes to plan I think we stand a very good chance of scoring a great result. I always try to win whatever the odds, and that's what I'll be aiming to do.''

The Shell Donegal Rally starts at 11.30 on Friday 16th June and finishes at 17.00 on Sunday 18th June.

Mark Higgins and Andrew Nesbitt will both drive Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05s in Donegal.

No Driver/Co-Driver (Car) [Class]
1 Gareth MacHale/Paul Nagle (Ford Focus WRC) [8]
2 Matthew Wilson/Michael Orr (Ford Focus WRC) [8]
3 Colin McRea/Nicky Grist (Austin Rover Metro 6R4) [15]
4 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Toyota Corolla) [8]
5 Derek McGarrity/Chris Patterson (Subaru S11) [8]
6 Andrew Nesbitt/James O'Brien () [8]
7 Tim McNulty/Anthony Nestor (Subaru Impreza WRC) [8]
8 Eamon Boland/Francis Regan (ford Focus WRC) [8]
9 Austin MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus) [8]
10 Kevin Lynch/ (Subaru Impreza) [8]
11 Gareth Jones/David Moynihan (Subaru Impreza WRC S10) [8]
12 Paul Harris/Eugene O Donnell (Subaru Impreza) [8]
14 Garry Jennings/ (Subaru Impreza WRC S10) [8]
15 Stephen Murphy/Michael J Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC) [8]
16 Ray Breen/Andrew Purcell (Ford Focus) [8]
17 Patrick Elliott/Paul Goodman (Subaru WRC S10) [8]
18 Tony Davies/Patrick Walsh (Subaru Imprexa) [8]
19 Mark Higgins/ () []
20 Jonny Milner/Duncan McMath (Mitsubishi Evo 9) [4]
21 Kevin Barrett/Barry Goodman (Subaru Impreza WRC) [8]
22 Sean Devine/ (Subaru Impreza WRC) [8]
23 Colm Murphy/Ger Loughrey (Subaru Impreza) [4]
24 Seamus Leonard/Gerry McVeigh (Mitsubishi Evo 9) [4]
25 Roy White/Stephen McAuley (Mitsubishi Evo 9) [4]
26 JJ Fleming/Robbie Ward (Ford Focus WRC) [8]
27 Shaun Gallagher/Charlie McGinty (Mitsubishi Evo 9) [4]
28 Mike Curran/Fabian McShane (Mitsubishi Evo 9) [4]
29 Willie Fannin/Mick Coutney (Subaru Impreza) [4]
30 Nigel Hicklin/Dairmuid Falvey (Subaru Impreza WRC) [8]
31 Paddy Whyte/Graeme Stewart (Subaru S9) [8]
32 James Foley/Dominic Markey (Mitsubishi Evo 9) [4]
33 Philip Morrow/Daniel Barritt (Mitsubishi Evo 9) [4]
34 Denis Biggerstaff/Sean (Subaru Impreza GL) []
35 James Cullen/Reba Graham (Mitsubishi Evo 8) [4]
36 Kevin Kelleher/Martin Kelleher (Mitsubishi Evo9) [4]
37 John McGlaughlin/David McElroy (Mitsubishi Evo 9) [4]
38 Frank Wray/Joe McNulty (Mitsubishi Evo 6) [4]
39 Cathal Rogers/Paul McLaughlin (Mitsubishi Evo 9) [4]
40 Gavin Harris/Shaun Lafferty (Subaru Impreza) [4]
41 Ivan Stewart/Joe Friel (Ford Escort Cosworth) [15]
42 Phil Collins/ (Ford Escort MK2) [14]
43 John Dalton/Gwynfor Jones (Darrian T90 GTR) [14]
44 Damien Gallagher/Mac Walsh (Ford Escort) [13]
45 Camilus Bradley/Danny O'Neill (Ford Escort MKII) [13]
46 Paul Gallagher/Karl Reid (Toyota Corolla) [13]
47 Robbie Peoples/Keith Stewart (Ford Escort) [13]
48 Wesley Patterson/Llinos Jones Edwards (Ford Escort RS) [13]
49 Steve Bannister/Kevin Rae (Ford Escort) [12]
50 Ollie O'Reilly/Arthur Kierans (Ford Escort) [13]
51 Dessie Keenan/Paul Garry (Ford Escort) [14]
52 Eugene Ferry/John Gallagher (Ford Escort) [14]
53 Martin McGee/Damien Crawford (Ford Escort) [13]
54 Paul Barrett/ (Ford Escort) []
55 Brian Brogan/Damien McGettigan (Ford Escort) [13]
56 Guy Woodcock/Phill Harrison (Ford Escort) [7]
57 James Wozencroft/Rob Fagg (Suzuki Ignis) [6]
58 Danny MacBride/Rory McBride (Subaru Impreza) [4]
59 Seamus McCusker/Vincent Fergus (Ford Escort M6) [14]
60 Conor McCloskey/Crawford Henderson (Mitsubishi Evo 9) [4]
61 Jim Callaghan/Gerard Callaghan (Ford Escort Mk II) [12]
62 Neil McCance/Sean Ferris (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) [4]
63 Declan McNaughton/ (Ford Escort Mk2) [14]
64 Daniel Conaghan/Liam McLaughlin (Ford Escort) [12]
65 Seamus Hegarty/Paul Gallagher (Ford Escort) [13]
66 Pat Bonar/derek Montgomery (Ford Escort) [12]
67 Manus Kelly/Damien McCauley (Toyota Corolla) [11]
68 Bernard McGinley/Raymond Scott (Toyota Starlet) [11]
69 Paul Gallagher/James Gallagher (Ford Escort Mk1) [11]
70 James Browne/Terence Magee (Ford Escort) [11]
71 Conor Curley/Nigel Frazer (Ford Escort) [13]
72 Padraig Price/David Nooney (Ford Escort) [13]
73 Ian Campbell/ (Mitsubishi Evo 8) [4]
74 Paul McKenna/ (Mitsubishi Evo 6) [4]
75 Raymond McLaughlin/Kieran Harrigan (Mitsubishi Evo VII) [4]
76 John Tully/ (Ford Escort) []
77 Terence McHugh/Tony Boyle (Ford Escort) [12]
78 Danny McGinley/Ruth Guest (Ford Escort) [14]
79 Alaistair Hetherington/John Coll (Ford Escort) [12]
80 Damien Tourish/Domhnall McAlaney (Honda Civic) [2]
81 John Hegarty/Patrick McGlynn (Honda Civic) [2]
82 Enda Hallinan/Ollie Ward (Honda Civic) [2]
83 Eugene Meegan/Paul McGee (Renault Clio RS) [3]
84 Andrew Browne/Keefe Kilcoyne (Peugeot 106) [6]
85 Andrew Bushe/Martin McGarrity (Cotreon Saxo S1600) [6]
86 Tommy Doyle/Andrew O'Donoghue (Honda Civic) [2]
87 David Graham/Tony McDaid (Peugeot 106 GTI) [6]
88 Martin Lynch/Mairead Lynch (Ford Escort) [13]
89 Paul Daniel/Kim Baker (Ford Escort MKII) [13]
90 William McFadden/Clive Aiken (Vauxhall Nova) [13]
91 Gary Cooper/Jon Riley (Subaru Impreza) [16]
92 Keith McElhinney/Glenn Gallagher (Honda Civic) [2]
93 Conor Harvey/Noel Harvey (Honda Civic) [2]
94 J.P. Logue/Patrick Dunning (Honda Civic) [2]
95 Seamus Gallagher/Dan Maguire (Citroen Saxo Kit Car) [6]
96 John Watters/ (Ford Escort) [12]
97 Liam Doherty/Ryan Moore (Toyota Corolla) [11]
98 Paul Ward/Peter Ward (Ford Escort) [13]
99 Rory Thomas/Aidan Thomas (Toyota Corolla) [11]
100 Gary McElhinney/Martin McMenamin (Ford Escort MK2) [12]
101 Andrew Knox/Andrew Russell (Toyota Corolla) [11]
102 John Ward/Gary McNern (Toyota Corolla) [11]
103 John Gallagher/Brendan McElhinney (Honda Civic) [2]
104 Brian Pat Doherty/ (Ford Escort Maxi) [7]
105 Brendan Cumiskey/ (Honda Civic) [3]
106 Brian Black/Ian Crozier (Toyota Starlet) [9]
107 PJ McDermott/Sean Harris (BMW M3) [14]
108 William Carey/Jimmy Graham (Ford Escort Mark II) [13]
109 Pete Greene/ (Ford escort) [14]
110 Shane Orr/ (Honda Civic Type R) [3]
111 Christopher Boyce/Pascal Dillon (Honda Civic) [3]
112 Simon McElhinney/Kelvin McElhinney (Honda Civic) [2]
113 Danny Gillespie/Eamonn Gillespie (Honda Civic) [2]
114 Seamus O'Grady/Oonagh Roche (Proton Satria) [6]
115 Kevin Kelly/Jonathan Baird (Ford Escort) [14]
116 Bernard O'Neill/Eugene O'Kane (Ford Escort) [12]
117 WJ Dolan/Brian Doherty (Subaru Impreza) [4]
118 Dermot Cannon/ (Subaru Impreza) []
119 Shaun Reid/Damian McAuley (Mitsubishi EVO 5) [4]
120 Gary Cooney/ (Mitsubishi Evo 8) [4]
121 Aidan Toner/Damian Toner (Ford Escort) [12]
122 John Dolan/Joe Dolan (Ford Escort) [12]
123 Barry McGill/Cathal McGinley (Peugeot 205) [10]
124 Oliver Harvey/Grainne Moore (Honda Civic) [11]
125 JR McDaid/Ivor Scott (Nissan Micra) [5]
126 Andrew Gamble/Mark Vaughan (Nissan Micra) [5]
127 Mick Quinn/Alan Keena (Honda Civic) [2]
128 Paddy McDaid/Timmy Lunn (Honda Civic) [2]
129 Brian Cawford/Mary Morrow (Talbot Sunbeam) [10]
130 Andrew Stewart/Tony Gallagher (Suzuki Swift) [5]
131 Alyn Spiers/Michael O'Farrell (Peugeot 106) [6]
132 Colin McMonagle/Martin Costello (Honda Integra Type R) [3]
133 Garret McMonagle/ (Honda Intergra) [3]
134 Mark Gibson/Cathal McGettigan (Toyota Corolla) [11]
135 John Boyle/Sharon Boyle (Ford Escort) [13]
136 Paddy O'Reilly/Cian Curley (Ford Escort MK5) [14]
137 Patrick Bonner/Anthony Bonner (Ford Escort MkII) [12]
138 Maurice Boyle/Pauric O Donnell (Ford Escort) [12]
139 Brendan Gallagher/Jamsie Ward (Toyota Corolla) [11]
140 Stuart Rankin/William Coyle (Ford Escort) [10]
141 Patrick Boyle/Donal McCole (Toyota Corolla) [11]
142 Carl Moore/Michael Kerr (Mitsubishi Evo 8) [4]
143 Kevin Gallagher/Gavin Gallagher (Vauxhall Corsa) [9]
144 Hugh Kelly/Paul McCafferty (Ford Escort) [9]
145 Kevin McDaid/James Logue (Suzuki Swift) [9]
146 Charlie Hegarty/Pearse McBride (Toyota Corolla) [11]
147 Adrian Cannon/Paul Keys (Toyota Corolla) [11]
148 Ciaran Gallagher/Damian Rogers (Honda Civic) [16]
149 Michael McCollum/Gerard Sharkey (BMW M3 Compact) [13]
150 Ian Hynes/ (Honda Civic) [2]
151 Toni Kelly/Joe Hunter (Honda Civic Type R) [3]
152 Harry Cathcart/Wendy Blackledge (Suzuki Swift GTI) [5]

R1 Geoffrey Dolan/Adrian Brolly (Talbot Sunbeam) [13]
R2 John Cairns/James Cairns (Subaru Impreza) [4]
R3 Columba Heena/Derek Heena (Toyota Corolla) [11]
R4 Thomas Keys/ (Ford Escort) [13]
R5 Kiaran Roarty/Kevin Kearney (Mitsubishi Evo6) [4]
R6 Paul Callaghan/Pearse Callaghan (Peugeot 205) [13]
R7 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza S9) [8]
R8 Aidan Caddye/Eamonn Ferry (Honda Civic) [6]
R9 Eddie Jnr O'Donnell/Eddie Snr O'Donnell (Ford Escort RS) [14]
R10 Seamus Devine/ (Subaru Impreza WRC S6) [8]
R11 Derek Gurney/Jonathan Pollock (Ford Sierra RS 500) [12]
R12 John Fitzsimmons/Sean Brunton (Ford Escort Mk2) [13]
R13 Hugh Martin Doherty/Michael McBride (Subaru Impreza) [8]
R14 Mark Alcorn/Kevin McCafferty (Toyota Corolla) [11]
R15 Kevin Doherty/Laura Kelly (Renault Megane) [12]
R16 Martin Doherty/Andrew Cullen (Subaru Impreza S9) [8]
R17 Keith Naughton/Jane Cogan (Ford Escort) [13]
R18 Ian Campbell/Danny Cannon (Suzuki Swift) [9]
R19 Stuart Darcy/Stephen Furey (Mitsubishi Evo7) [4]
R20 Jeff McNeil/Ian Fraser (Subaru Impreza WRX) [16]
R21 Maurice Moffett/Jason McKenna (Toyota Starlet) [14]
R22 Cathal Arthurs/John McElhinney () [8]
R23 Brian Connolly/ (Citroen Saxo) [6]
R24 Ronan Cox/Barry McNulty (Vauxhall Nova) [9]
R25 George Cullen/Jake Kelly (Subaru S9 WRC) [8]
R26 Tom Holton/Francis Kenny (Toyota Celica 205) [15]
R27 Michael McClogan/ (Opel Manta) [14]
R28 Stanley Ballantine/Richard Hyland (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) [4]
R29 Conor Byrne/Niall Byrne (Mitsibishi Evo 7) [4]
R30 Gerard Browne/Keith Bovaird (Ford Escort Mk2) [12]
R31 Kevin O'Donoghue/ (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) [4]
R32 Ian Barnett/Eoin O'Flahearty (Mitsubishi Evo 8) [4]
R33 Kelvin Keys/Kevin Gallinagh (Ford Escort) [11]
R34 Shaun Murphy/Ross Wasson (Ford Escort) [13]
R35 Seamus Heron/Billy Mc Cullins (BMW M3) [14]
R36 Tom Muldoon/Keefe Kilcoyne (Mitsubishi) [16]
R37 PJ Bonner/Paddy Boyle (Ford Escort) [14]
R38 Craig McIntosh/Matthew Whattam (Ford Escort Cosworth) [15]
R39 James McDermot/Paul McDermot (Ford Sierra) [14]
R40 Derek McGonagle/John Farren (Ford Escort MkII) [13]
R41 Alan Gardiner/Robin Nicolson (Ford Escort MK2) [13]
R42 Brian Doyle/Sean Hayde (Ford Escort) [13]
R43 Paul Elliott/Martin Brady (Mitsubishi Evo9) [4]
R44 Ian Duff/Ian Hull (Proton Compact) [11]
R45 Frank Kelly/Liam Brennan (Ford Escort Mk2) [13]
R46 Pat Kirk/Matin Hanna () []
R47 Gary Cairns/Gary Monteith (Mitsubishi Evo) [4]
R48 Thomas G Randles/ (Toyota Celica) [15]
R49 Noel Lappin/Gerard Hyland (Ford Escort M2) []
R50 Willie Hunter/Kingsley Hunter (Ford Sierra) [15]
R51 Gerry McGivney/Brian Ruth (Ford Escort) [12]
R52 Patrick Shiels/ (Toyota Starlet) [11]
R53 Padraig Neville/Amy Ryan (Honda Civic) [6]
R54 Paddy Boyce/Willie Hamilton (Peugeot 205) [14]
R55 David Roe/Robert Nolan (Honda Civic TypeR) [3]
R56 Brian Dennis/Declan Tuomey (Skoda Fabia) [4]
R57 Michael Dolan/Eilish Sweeney (honda Civic) [6]
R58 Peter McCullagh/ (Mitsubishi Evo 7) [4]
R59 Alan Sheridan/Alan Tuite (Ford Escort) [14]
R60 Mike Bird/Kevin Keane (Mitsubishi Evo8) [4]
R61 Peter Doherty/Dermot McGettigan (Ford Escort) [11]
R62 Dermot McGeady/Gerard Mullan (Mitsubishi Lancer) [8]
R63 John O Leary/ (Subaru Impreza) [4]
R64 William White/Peter O'Toole (Citroen Saxo VTS) [6]
R65 Frank Barnett/Daniel Barnett (Subaru Impreza) [4]
R66 Victor Hunter/Michael Doherty (Ford Escort MK2) [13]
R67 Kevin Bradley/Peter Toye (Mitsubishi Evo 8) [16]
R68 Gerard McAleer/ (Ford MkII) []
R69 John Mulholland/Eamon Gorman (Skoda Fabia VRS Tdi) []
R70 Shaun Callaghan/Barry Callaghan (Ford Escort Mk2) [13]
R71 Stephen Ritchie/Ian Harden (Vauxhall Astra) []
R72 Joe McQuillan/ (Honda Civic) [11]
R73 Johnny Greer/ (Ford Fiesta ST) [3]
R74 John Crumlish/ (Subaru Impreza WRX Sti) [4]
R75 Roy Jarvis/Barry Harte (Rover Mini) [9]
R76 Brendan McAree/Vincent McAree (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO9) [4]
R77 Paul Doherty/ (Toyota Corolla) [11]
R78 Peter McCarry/Eamon Sweeney (Ford Escort MK 3 G3) [12]
R79 Christy McDermott/Declan Bonnar (Ford Escort) [12]

Car No Driver /Co-Driver (Car) [Class]
1 John Farrell/Enda Shiels (Ford Escort) [C2]
2 Todd Falvey/Dan Barry (Porsche 911) [C2]
3 Sean Treacy/Billy Regan (BMW 2002 Alpina) [C2]
4 William Rowan/Peter Rowan (Forrd Anglia) [B3]
5 Niall Creighton/Gregory Roberts (Ford Cortina Lotus MK I) [B3]
6 William Todd/Samuel McKinley (Austin Mini Cooper) [B2]
7 Willam Stevenson/James Stevenson (Ford Prefect 100E) [B3]
8 Michael Carlin/George Carlin (Ford Escort) [C1]
9 Chris Moore/Nigel Campbell (Austin Mini) [C1]
10 Ernest Stewart/Norma Stewart (Chrysler Hunter GLS) [C2]
11 Adrian Kermode/Maurice Beckett (Porsche 911) [C2]
12 Kevin Bradley/Peter Toye (Ford Cortina) [B3]
13 Liam Brown/Martin Coyle (Ford Escort RS2000) [D3]
14 Gerry Freeman/Dermot Quigley (Ford Anglia) [B3]
15 Alan Jardine/James McSherry (Ford Escort) [C2]
16 Gary Madden/Graham Henderson (Ford Escort) [D3]

J1 John McHugh/Declan Gallagher (Toyota Corolla) [J2]
J2 Martin O Donnell/Patrick Gallagher (Honda Civic) [J2]
J3 Aidan Friel/ (Honda Civic) [J2]
J4 Johnny Dorrian/Padraig McMullen (Ford Escort) [J2]
J5 Alastair Fisher/ (Vauxhall Corsa) [J1]
J6 Noel O'Donnell/Conor Comack (Peugeot 205 Gti) [J2]
J7 Dermot McGroary/Joesph Timoney (Talbot Sunbeam) [J2]
J8 Anthony Cairns/Mark O'Donnell (Honda Civic) [J2]
J9 Tim Radford/ (Peugeot 106) [J2]
J10 Martin Browne/John Kilmurray (Honda Civic) [J2]
J11 Donald McGettigan/Gareth Doherty (Honda Civic) [J1]
J12 Adrain McBride/Rodney Hicks (Peugeot 206) [J2]
J13 John Paul Quigley/Darren Doherty (Suzuki Swift) [J1]
J14 Terry McGonagle/Barry Doherty (Honda Civic) [J2]
J15 John O'Donnell/Sean McBride (Toyota Corolla) [J2]
J16 Gavin McMenamin/Shay McMenamin (Toyota Corolla) [J2]
J17 Glenda Boyle/ (Peugeot 106) [J2]
J18 Grannia McDaid/Michelle Doherty (Peugeot 106) [J2]
J19 Michael Bonner/Michael Greene (Ford Escort MK I) [J2]
J20 Jim Gallagher/Martin Gallagher (Toyota Corolla) [J2]
J21 Colin McMenamin/Michael O'Kane (Ford Escort) [J2]
J22 Trevor Alcorn/Jamsie Boyle (Ford Escort MK II) [J1]
J23 Darren McKenna/Nicola McKenna (Toyota Corolla) [J2]
J24 Brendan Friel/ (Toyota Corolla) [J2]
J25 Gerard Boyle/Patrick McHugh (Toyota Corolla) [J2]
J26 Shane Burns/Sean Henehan (Peugeot 205 GTI) [J2]
J27 Hugh Martin Toye/Breeda Toye (Honda Civic) [J2]
J28 Eamonn Gallagher/Paul Brogan (Toyota Corolla) [J2]
J29 Damien McVey/Declan Tinney (Vauxhall Nova) [J1]
J30 Declan McBrearty/Barry O'Hara (Toyota Corolla) [J2]

Junior Reserves
JR1 Ryan Turner/Barry Davenport (Suzuki Swift) [J1]
JR2 John McQuid/ (Ford Escort) [J2]
JR3 Gary Caldwell/Tom Bennet (Peugeot 106 S16) [J2]
JR4 Paul McDermot/Thomas Gallagher (Honda Civic) [J2]
JR5 Patrick Bradley/Mark Hunter (Talbot Sunbeam) [J2]
JR6 Gerard Jnr Greene/Gerard Snr Greene (Ford Escort) [J2]
JR7 Steven Nairn/ (Vauxhall Corsa) [J2]
JR8 Shane McGinley/James Grennan (Honda Civic) [J2]
JR9 Gary Lochart/terence Friel (Ford Escort) [J2]
JR10 Jonathan Edwards/Robert Edwards (Vauxhall Corsa) [J1]

Entry lists also on:
Accommodation available for competitors
Accommodation available for competitors and crews only.
Close to headquarters and Parc Ferme.

SHELL DONEGAL FINDS THE HOLY GRAIL – Colin McRae to compete in Metro 6R4
It’s on. After weeks, if not in fact years, of rumour, speculation and cryptic clues the organisers of the Shell Donegal Rally have announced the Holy Grail of rallying: McRae is coming.

Clerk of the Course Danny Gormley has confirmed that Colin McRae, the biggest name in World rallying, has entered this year’s Donegal with regular co-driver Nicky Grist. The news will electrify Irish rally fans, and send shockwaves through the regular competitors in the Irish Tarmac rally series. And its a serious assault: he’ll be driving his Metro 6R4.

Danny Gormley said:
“We’ve hoped for this for a long time and it’s fitting that he’s coming on the 35th anniversary of the Rally. We can’t wait to see him tackle the classic stages like Knockalla and Atlantic Drive. Donegal is buzzing, and Irish rallying is in for a real treat.”

“Rally fans will know what this entry means in terms of interest and I would appeal to all marshals who were thinking of coming to Donegal to spectate this year, to get in touch via our website and bring their gear with them. We want Colin and Nicky to enjoy the stages and the famous Donegal craic in equal measure. Roll on June 16th.”

02/05/06 Regulations and details on:
The Organisers of this year’s Shell Donegal International Rally Ireland report a big increase in early enquiries for regulations for the Rally, which takes place on June 16-18th next.

Photo: www.roydempster.com

The Organisers of this year’s Shell Donegal International Rally Ireland report a big increase in early enquiries for regulations for the Rally, which takes place on June 16-18th next.

Clerk of the Course Danny Gormley, who has stepped up from his role as Deputy last year, commented:
“We have had a surprising number of phone and e-mail enquiries already, particularly from UK crews, about the 2006 Rally. This is especially so from the Isle of Mull. This may be due in part be to the interest created by Rally Ireland, which of course we fully support, but also due to the huge reaction we had to last years’ Rally.”

“I think the generous comments made by Steve Perez, coupled with his performance on the Rally, have hit a chord with UK crews. I know many want to come and have asked what result is needed to get an entry. It may help them to know that last year a minimum of a top 20 finish on a National Standard rally was needed to get you in the running. In fact, a top 16 or 17 result was needed to guarantee a start.”

“This gave us a deep quality entry, which was reflected in the spectator feedback. Some of the best action was to be found in the midfield, with the fastest rear wheel drive runners, which the spectators stayed on to watch. And with so many hard chargers in the field, we had virtually no complaints about the seeding.”

“This year the Club have modified the criteria slightly to emphasise International results, so we’ll have to see how that works out. Our draft Regulations have gone to Motorsport Ireland for approval and as soon as that happens we hope to get them get them online. We’re running a Junior Rally section again, on the Sunday this year, with the Historic Rally starting on Saturday afternoon.”

“We are in ongoing discussions with Shell and Donegal Oil about some new developments for this year’s Rally, which we’ll announce later. Our website will be updated as we go along and competitors can contact us about ordering Regulations at: www.donegalrallyireland.com”
SHELL is confirmed again as Title Sponsor for the 2006 Donegal Rally Ireland. Thats the news just announced by the chairman of the Donegal Motor Club, Mr. Damian Crawford.

From left: Mr. Derek Mc Mahon, Donegal Oil, Rodger McMahon, Donegal Oil, Arthur McMahon, Donegal Oil, Danny Gormley COC Shell Donegal Rally Ireland 2006, Damian Crawford, Chairman Donegal Motor Club.
Photo: Emyard Brennan Photography.

We are pleased to confirm that SHELL will again sponsor the 2006 Donegal Rally, making this the longest partnership in Irish Rallying. We are honoured to enjoy their extended support, and also that of the Donegal Oil Company. Thanks to them, the Rally now blends some of the best tarmac stages, scenery and weather, into one special weekend every June, in Donegal.

New Clerk of the Course for the 2006 event, Danny Gormley said, SHELL have been associated with this event as title sponsor for 23 years. A great feeling of trust has built up between the Donegal Motor Club, SHELL and the Donegal Oil Company Ltd., allowing for the partnership to continue into the 2006 season. The Shell Donegal event is the highest profile event of the all the Tarmac International Series, and it is through this that SHELL feel confident that it can speak to MotorSport in Ireland and beyond. I thank the Donegal Oil Company Ltd and the McMahon family, for their valued assistance.

Mr. Arthur McMahon said: The Shell Donegal Rally, and our long association with it, has given us first hand knowledge of both our target market and its special requirements. It is an important outlet for the new range of proven Shell fuels, and especially Shell Racing fuels. With our experience at Donegal Oil Company in providing Shell products to the major rallies in Ireland, and as the fuel supplier of choice for so many of the top crews, the SHELL Donegal Rally Ireland is our natural annual showcase, and a way for Donegal Oil Company to support local motorsport over fantastic stages.

Danny Gormley, Clerk of the Course commented; The Shell Donegal Rally will take place on 16th-18th June, and we all look forward to a special motorsport week-end again in Donegal.

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