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Donegal International Rally - 13-15 Jun 08

Posted: June 22, 2008 11:24 PM - 42219 Hits

Round 5 - 2008 Tarmac Rally Championship
Round 4 - 2008 Irish Fiesta Sporting Trophy

  • Event stopped after SS11 due to the death of a spectator
    Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely declared winners

In Car Clips

Posted: June 22, 2008 11:24 PM

Kris Meeke/David Moynihan (Clio S1600) - Knockalla

Gary McPhillips/Paul Sheridan (Ford Escort Mk II) - Knockalla

Rodney Wilton/Conor McMahon (Ford Escort Mk II) - Knockalla


Video Clips

Posted: June 22, 2008 11:21 PM


Posted: June 22, 2008 4:10 PM

1 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Skoda Fabia WRC) 1h 14m 51s,
2 Kevin Lynch/Francis Regan (Ford Focus WRC) 1h 15m 10s,
3 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC) 1h 15m 12s,
4 Eamonn Boland/Damien Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 15m 27s,
5 Daniel Doherty/Michael Doherty (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 18m 10s,
6 Niall Maguire/Enda Sherry (Subaru Impreza WRC) 1h 18m 35s,
7 Glenn Allen/Damien Connolly (Toyota Corolla WRC) 1h 18m 47s,
8 Niall McShea/Marshall Clarke (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN) 1h 20m 04s,
9 Gary Jennings/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN) 1h 20m 12s,
10 Seamus Leonard/Gerry McVeigh (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 GpN) 1h 20m 44s.

Group N Production Class:
1 Niall McShea/Marshall Clarke,
2 Gary Jennings/Rory Kennedy,
3 Seamus Leonard/Gerry McVeigh.

Class winners:
Martin O’Donnell/Leona O’Donnell (Honda Civic),
Brian Doherty/Keith Bovaird (Honda Civic),
Andy Gamble/Mark Vaughan (Nissan Micra),
Seamus Gallagher/Ray Fitzpatrick (Citroen Saxo),
Guy Woodcock/Patrick Walsh (Ford Escort Maxi).

1 Phil Collins/Derek Brannigan (Ford Escort) 1h 20m 02s,
2 Gary McPhillips/Paul Sheridan (Ford Escort) 1h 20m 18s,
3 Rodney Wilton/Conor McMahon (Ford Escort) 1h 20m 23s.

1 Alastair Fisher/Barry McNulty 33m 37s,
2 Meilyr Evans/Andrew Edwards 33m 39s,
3 Elfyn Evans/Gareth Roberts 34m 55s.

Leaders After
SS1 Derek McGarrity/Diarmuid Falvey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS2-11 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Skoda Fabia WRC)

Stage Winners
SS1 Derek McGarrity/Diarmuid Falvey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS2 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS3 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS4 Bogey Beaten
SS5 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS6 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS7 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS8 Kevin Lynch/Francis Regan (Ford Focus WRC)
SS9 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS10 Kevin Lynch/Francis Regan (Ford Focus WRC)
SS11 Eugene Donnelly/Paul Kiely (Skoda Fabia WRC)
& Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)

Remaining Stages Cancelled

Posted: June 22, 2008 3:30 PM

Press Statement by The Donegal Motor Club

Posted: June 22, 2008 3:27 PM

Letterkenny, Saturday June 14th, 2008 6pm:
Donegal Motor Club regret that following an incident on Stage 11 of the Donegal International Rally, at approx 2.45 pm today, a spectator attending the Rally was fatally injured.

The incident is being fully investigated at present and initial indications are that there was no driver error involved. Superintendent Vincent O'Brien, of Letterkenny Gardai station has appealed for witnesses to come forward. Contact Gardai at (074) 9122222.

Letterkenny, Saturday June 14th, 2008 8pm: Donegal Motor Club regret that following an incident on Stage 11 of the Donegal International Rally, at approx 2.45 pm today, a spectator attending the Rally was fatally injured. We wish to extend our sympathies to the spectator's family and friends and as a mark of respect the Motor Club has decided that the third leg of the Rally, the Sunday stages will not take place.

The incident is being fully investigated at present and initial indications are that there was no driver error involved. We urge anyone who may be able to assist the Gardai with their investigation to contact Superintendent Vincent O'Brien, of Letterkenny Garda station who has appealed for witnesses to come forward. Contact Gardai at (074) 9122222.

At this time our thoughts are with the spectator's family and friends and as a mark of respect the remainder of today's event has been suspended.

Updated Entry Lists (Eugene Donnelly to Start in Skoda, Mark Higgins not starting, KPL to use Focus)

Posted: June 11, 2008 11:48 PM


Posted: June 9, 2008 11:14 PM

Media duo set to tackle daunting Donegal International Rally challenge with Anglo-Irish team In a challenge equivalent to a first time climb of a vertical face, the media duo of Sky Sports presenter Tony Jardine (Ascot, UK) and BBC Radio 5 Live F1 commentator Maurice Hamilton (Bangor, Northern Ireland) will not only attempt the mighty Donegal Rally for the first time, but they will make their debuts in the equivalent of a rocket ship - a full World Rally spec-car, with more go- faster gizmos than the F1 cars the media pair are used to seeing in their jobs in Grand Prix racing. The Jardine / Hamilton combination will also benefit from another Anglo-Irish alliance on the rally, this time in the form of their Northern Irish VSM Motorsport team and York-based ProSpeed Motorsport, run by Olly Marshall.
Richard Hogg (Limavady, L

Derry) has bravely agreed to loan his Skoda Octavia WRC rocket ship to the

apprentice climbers

with support from his Mascott Construction and LGC precision engineering concerns. The team will be supplied with rally tyres by Kumho. The Topaz Donegal International Rally (13-15 June) is the jewel in the crown of Irish rallying, and has a reputation for being one of the country

s most challenging rallies. So much so that four-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb competed in the event last year to familiarise himself with Irish rallying prior to Ireland

s first ever round of the World Rally Championship (WRC).
Jardine was due to compete in Rally Ireland 2007, which would have been his first event in the Emerald Isle, but he had to make a dramatic dash back to the UK after his wife was seriously injured as a pedestrian caught up in a road accident. She has now happily recovered. Now Jardine and co-driver Hamilton will make their Irish debuts after accepting the challenge to follow in Loeb

s tyre tracks, set by the Donegal International team, including organiser Damion Crawford and Clerk of the Course Danny Gormley.
To add to the challenge, it will be the first time either of the duo will have competed in a WRC car. The rally car, a Skoda Octavia Evolution Three, was originally built by ProSpeed Motorsport and is currently prepared and run by VSM Motorsport.
In a unique link for this event the team will be supported by both ProSpeed, who have supported Jardine

s Rally campaign for the last two years, and VSM, together with Kumho and Topaz who will supply fuel. Richard Hogg, who owns the Skoda Octavia, commented,

Tony and Maurice are definitely in for a big shock as the WRC Skoda is a major step up from the production car they are used to. They will probably have to spend the Friday familiarising themselves with the car, then really go for it on the Saturday.
After that they will just have to get the car home on the Sunday. We are really looking forward to seeing how they get on, and are hoping for a good result.

With so much support behind them the pressure will be mounting for Jardine and Hamilton to perform well on the stages. Driver Jardine, commenting on the event, said,
It has always been my goal to compete in Ireland, whilst similarly dreaming of driving a WRC car. Now the two have come together and, being completely honestly, I am scared. Just thinking of the challenge gives me vertigo! The closest I have got up until now is driving a group N Subaru on Rallye Sunseeker three years ago, and that was quick enough!

From its reputation, I know the Donegal Rally will be fast and tough. I have been watching the in- car footage of Loeb in last year

s rally through my fingers. I covered my face in terror as he reached 130mph on the narrow slippery lanes. And with flat out stages like the famous Atlantic Drive, this event is not for the faint hearted.

Tony and I will have to adapt to the Skoda very quickly as we won

t be driving it properly until the event itself. Compared to the cars we have experienced before this will be like a rocket ship

it has more technology than the Formula One cars I write and talk about

, said navigator and BBC Radio 5 Live commentator Maurice Hamilton, who also writes for the Observer newspaper. To help them stay on the road and avoid the sheer drops that edge some of the stages, the VSM / ProSpeed team will be using Kumho tyres who also supply the Euro F3 series. Lewis Hamilton used them to win the Euro Formula 3 Series three years ago on his way to F1. With the inevitable unpredictable weather the team

s choice between cut slicks, intermediate, or full wet tyres could make all the difference to the final result. Looking forward to welcoming the crew, after inviting them to take up the challenge of Donegal, Damion Crawford commented,


s great that Tony and Maurice have accepted our challenge. It will be daunting, but we are going out of our way to make them feel at ease and have told them to just enjoy this fabulous event. They want to reach the finish, but they will need pace. They will also need pace but of a different kind for their final Irish challenge - to keep up with us when accepting our good old Irish hospitality!


Posted: June 9, 2008 10:42 PM

Launch Photos

Posted: June 5, 2008 12:53 PM


Posted: June 5, 2008 12:39 PM

New Sponsor – check! - New entry list – check!

For the thousands of fans who will line the route in a few weeks time, 2008 will bring a new era of sponsorship and motorsport to the county of Donegal. Topaz. Ireland’s largest energy group, has become the new name for energy in Ireland, and we are honoured here in Donegal to be associated with this the first commercial sponsorship deal for the new company.

For 37 years, the Donegal rally has taken place in the atmosphere of a 'high summer' and has proved a mecca for all motorsport fans in Ireland, and from across the British Isles.

Again, this event proves it is the ‘must do’ of the Irish motorsport calendar, with 300 entries chasing just over 200 places on the 4 main categories within the event. Just 151 lucky entries will be allowed to start in the International/National event and drive over the ramp in Letterkenny on Friday 13th June, to begin a 3 day battle over classic roads on par with the best seen on any of the WRC events.

Heading that list will be FIA seeded driver Gareth McHale, partnered by Brian Murphy in his WRC Ford Focus. Hot on his heels is Mark Higgins with Rory Kennedy on the notes, with some useful knowledge of the Donegal tarmac in his mind, also a team to watch on the week-end.

Tucked into the entry list (10) is recent Barbados winner, Kris Meeke, driving the Excel Renault Clio, after its highly rated outing recently in Killarney.

The TOPAZ Donegal International Rally has one of the top entries in its field with the top drivers from across these islands.Leading the charge is Phil Collins, bask to defend his title and as he usually quips, “here to take in the scenery!”. Phil does not stay still long, as her will be pursued by many of top National drivers with a mind to beating Phil and his super quick Escort.

Drivers such as Camillus Bradley, Martin McGee, Letterkenny’s own Damien Gallagher and Brian Brogan. In a different class will be Paul Gallagher and Robbie Peoples, but these drivers are all capable of taking top honours in this close fought motorsport duelling week-end.

Name such as Eugene Ferry, Conor Curley, Scotland’s Calum Duffy, and our own Ivan Stewart in an interesting BMW.

No doubt, the national section is as thrilling to watch with many enthusiasts coming to the TOPAZ Donegal International Rally week-end for these names much as much as the International field.

Historic Rally.
Again record entries for this years Topaz Historic rally, with the record 28 entries. This part of the event has grown in popularity in the past few years, and is led away by Richard Hall Sam McMullan in their Escort RS1600, a throwback to the days when Ford dominated rallies with this ancestor of the today’s fiery WRC Focus and where some would argue that this is were modern rallying all began.
The Historic event will be fought over the last 10 stages of the event, starting after lunch on Saturday, and finishing on Sunday after the main field has passed. There is much interest in the event as some very famous names from the ‘past masters’ list can be seen, reminding many of the way rallies were driven in 1970’s and 80’s giving rise to the sights and sounds of today. Names such as Mini man Mervyn Johnston, Derek Boyd and Dessie McCartney, all entertainers from the 1970’s.

Although viewed as leisurely by some today, these cars were cutting edge then and indeed driven on the edge with the technology available at the time, in particular the tyre technology of the time, which made the control of these vehicles all the more difficult with the limited levels of grip. However, the passing of time will not have diminished anything, and competitors will be pushing even harder and faster now, with the upgrading of components to give some of the best sideways action.

Maxol Fiesta Sporting Trophy

Contenders for the popular Fiesta challenge continue with s strong entry from across the British Isles. The entry list includes local man Alastair Fisher, with a strong Welsh invasion of Evans families from Wales hot in contention as well. A total of nine of these fiery little Fords will attack the roads of Letterkenny, with the challenge cars battling it out on the 8 Saturday stages, reaching a grand finale by the end of that day. However current championship leader Elfyn Evans with 85 points, over young Fisher’s 55 points, will hope to continue their domination of the points table but as history has shown, the special mix of Donegal and June can change if the conditions do not suit.

Junior Rally
For some this is the pinnacle of their rally career. And so it should! Many of tomorrows stars will hopefully come from this ranks of this ever more popular section of the tarmac series in Ireland. Over 40 young hopefuls’ have taken their place on the entry list, with a few more in reserve, and will show their skills over the last 4 stages of the Sunday run, giving them a memorable day’s rallying over some of the most famous special stages in the world.

Time & Distance Schedules

Posted: June 3, 2008 12:13 PM


Entry Lists available

Posted: May 27, 2008 4:29 PM

Donegal NOT a round of the 2008 Irish Evolution Challenge

Posted: May 10, 2008 1:39 PM

The Donegal International Rally will not be a counting round of the 2008 Irish Evolution Challenge.

The ALMC Stages Rally on July 6th will replace this round

Topaz Sponsorship Secures Future of Donegal International Rally

Posted: May 6, 2008 3:21 PM

Topaz, Ireland’s largest fuel and convenience retailer today announced its sponsorship of the Topaz Donegal International Rally Ireland in a 3 year deal that will secure the future of one of Ireland’s oldest annual rally competitions. Topaz will invest almost a quarter of a million euro in sponsoring and supporting the event over the 3 years.

The event is estimated to be worth more than €20 million to the Donegal economy each year. [Estimate figure from the Donegal Motor Club]

The Topaz sponsorship will bring the Donegal Rally up to its 40th year. This year’s rally, which will take place from 12th – 15th June, will see over 150 drivers compete over three days.

This is the first major sponsorship for Topaz which acquired the Irish retail and commercial fuels businesses of Shell and Statoil in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The company recently announced that it will re-brand over 350 Shell and Statoil stations nationwide over the next 8 months.

The Topaz Donegal International Rally Ireland will see over 50,000 spectators line the route as Ireland’s premier rally drivers compete for championships points as part of the Global Group Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. The event will also stage the Historic Rally and the Fiesta Challenge on Saturday 14th followed by the Junior Rally on Sunday 15th.

Danny Gormley, Clerk of the Course of the Rally said “We are delighted that Topaz has helped to secure the future of the Donegal International Rally Ireland. The Topaz sponsorship will bring the rally up to its 40th anniversary, which is a significant milestone for Ireland’s foremost rally. Each year the rally helps to showcase the best rally drivers in the country as they compete on one of the best rally circuits in the world. It is a fantastic event which attracts people from all over Europe.”

Danny Murray, CEO of Topaz said, “We are delighted to be part of this famous rally. The commitment of the organisers to stage the event is amazing and we are excited to be part of this hugely important event for the foreseeable future.

Regulations Available

Posted: April 27, 2008 10:36 PM

Entry Criteria available

Posted: April 4, 2008 11:10 AM

Entry Criteria available on Club Website:

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