Donegal International Rally - 19-21 Jun 09

Posted: March 15, 2011 1:42 PM - 47808 Hits

Round 5 - 2009 Tarmac Rally Championship
Round 4 - 2009 Irish Fiesta Sporting Trophy

  • MacHale/Murphy take start to finish win

REPORT: Investigation with an Independent Chairman

Posted: March 15, 2011 1:42 PM

In Car - Columba Heena & Ryan Moore Crash on SS4

Posted: June 25, 2009 12:07 PM

This is Stage 4 of the 2009 Topaz Donegal International Rally where Columba & Ryan unfortunately crashed out of the event. Both competitors were thankfully unhurt and were able to walk away from the smash without serious injury.

More Photos

Posted: June 24, 2009 11:22 AM

Successful weekend for VSM

Posted: June 24, 2009 11:20 AM

After three days rallying, with 20 stages and 188 stage miles eight customers of VSM finished the Topaz Donegal International Rally.

PJ McDermott/Francis Regan driving the Voodoo Subaru S11 finished the rally in 5th overall. Danny MacBride/Rory MacBride finished 9th Overall and 3rd in Group N, Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan finished 10th overall and 4th in Group N and Pat Kirk/Peter Ward finished 12th overall and 6th in Group N all in Mitsubishi Evo 9’s.

Paul Callaghan/Barry Callaghan finished an excellent 17th overall and 8th in Group N in the Topaz Subaru N11 and John Crumlish/Gerard Mullan finished 30th overall and 3rd in class 8.

In the national section of the Topaz Donegal International John Gallagher/Brendan McElhinney finished 11th overall and 1st in class 16. James McNulty/Karol McBride also in an Evo 6 finished the national rally in 51st after restarting under super rally rules on day 2.

Unfortunately VSM had one retirement when Trevor and Kenny Bustard retired on SS16 Portlake with a broken driveshaft.

In Car

Posted: June 23, 2009 2:45 PM

Video Clips

Posted: June 23, 2009 1:53 PM

Posted: June 23, 2009 1:33 PM

Gp N Winnders: Seamus Leonard/John McCafferty (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9)
Photo: Roy Dempster

National Winners - Wesley Patterson/Martin McGarrity

Photo: Trevor McGrath

First Donegal win lifts Mc Hale up to second in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

Posted: June 23, 2009 1:28 PM

Gareth Mc hale scored his first ever international win on last weekend’s Topaz Donegal International Rally, round five of the International Rally Championship. The young Dublin driver finished fifty seconds ahead of Tarmac championship leader Eugene Donnelly. Eamon Boland the current Tarmac champion retired on the penultimate stage while holding second place.

Mc Hale driving his Ford Focus lead from start to finish and was fastest driver on eleven of the twenty stages. He ended the fifteen year Ford drought on this rally, and he was the first driver from the south of Ireland to win since his father Austin scored his second victory in 1998.This victory puts Gareth up to second place in the championship with forty six points, fourteen behind Eugene Donnelly. With three rounds remaining and bonus points available on the final round , this championship race is very open.

Donnelly driving his usual Skoda Fabia WRC finished second. The Maghera man was third for most of the rally and when Eamon Boland retired Donnelly inherited second to add to his victories in Galway, Circuit of Ireland and Jim Clark. Donnelly continues to lead the championship with 60 points.

Significantly Eamon Boland was the only driver to challenge Mc Hale. The 2009 champion was second from stage one until he retired with a blown engine in his Subaru on stage 19, one from the end. Boland trailed Mc Hale by as little as nine seconds by mid-rally ,but that gap had expanded to 40seconds at the end of stage 18. With this retirement Boland drops to fourth place in the championship, the Wexford man is now twenty six points behind leader Donnelly.

Tim Mc Nulty arrived in Donegal, second in the championship and fresh from his win in the Lakes and second in the Jim Clark. And while he had only one fastest time, he was fourth at the end of days one and two, but never far behind Donnelly. The Meath driver retired his Subaru after a puncture on stage sixteen. Mc Nulty now third in the championship is ten points behind Mc Hale with Donnelly twenty four points ahead.

Alastair Fisher was leading the Group N section of the Tarmac Championship at the start of the rally, but clutch failure forced retirement and he now slips to third place. Alan Carmichael finished third and moves into a narrow lead over Ger O’Donovan who now moves into second place in the category. Local driver Damien Tourish won the category and now lies fourth in the championship. There is little between all these drivers at the moment and the category could go right down to the wire.

The best two wheel drive car was once again Daragh O’Riordan, this time driving an Opel Corsa. The Corkman is now an amazing fifth overall helped by the bonus points structure introduced into the championship for the first time this year.

Another innovation in thus year’s championship is the Modified Challenge. Wesley Patterson had another win in Donegal and becomes the inaugural Modified Challenge winner. The Escort Mk2 driver had a maximum score thanks to category wins in Galway, Circuit, Lakes and Donegal.

In the Historic section Derek Boyd was victorious once again in the 911 to put him in a stronger position in the championship.

The next round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship will be the Isle of Man rally International Rally held on July 10th and 11th. The two day 175 mile event is round six of the Irish Tarmac championship and also a round of the British rally Championship.


Posted: June 23, 2009 1:26 PM

Round four of the Fiesta Sport Trophy Ireland, was on the Saturday stages of the Donegal International Rally, the most prolific rally in Ireland, and 19 year old Waterford driver Craig Breen took the Fiesta FST victory in dominant style. Indeed it’s a style and a victory that has taken Craig to his sixth Fiesta Sport Trophy win in a row, such has been his pace in both the UK and Irish versions of this successful one make series.

Going into Donegal Craig led the Irish series by fifteen points, and he knew that this was a significant round, if he was going to build any cushion. Co-driver for the event was Scottish lass Kirsty Riddick, and Craig was confident of a good result after the recce. “I had a good recce and was confident Kirsty would do a great job.” The competition in Donegal was fierce and rain on top of the Donegal tarmac was an interesting prospect for the first stage. “The day started off wet. On the first stage I took the first few corners easy, and felt what the grip level was like, but it felt quite abrasive, and I was happy to push. However it worked out and we recorded a time 8 seconds clear of everyone, which was a great start.” With stage two cancelled Craig and Kirsty brought the Diarwood Fiesta back to service, for a change to a dry setting, as the weather turned more clement for the second loop of the same tests. On stages 3 and 4 Craig was once again fastest, and by this stage had built up a 22 second advantage over Mark Donnelly, with Robert Barrable third at this point.

The fifth stage was the legendary Knockalla mountain stage, with its sheer drops into the Atlantic Ocean on the left, it’s one of the most breathtaking strips of tarmac in Irish rallying, and was to be crucial stage on this event. At this point Craig needed to pace himself carefully, and second fastest time, just half a second behind fastest driver Shane Buckley was ideal and Craig’s lead was to be further extended to thirty seconds when second placed Mark Donnelly retired with gearbox problems. With two stages left, a fastest time for Craig and Kirsty in the Kel-Tech Fiesta rounded off a perfect day. “It was a great day for us and to win in Donegal was just superb. I just wish we can keep this run of success going on the next events.”

The next event on the hectic schedule is the next round of the Fiesta Sport Trophy UK, which is back to the forests this weekend for the Scottish Rally. It’s an ambitious calendar for Craig, who has just put in an entry for the World Championship Rally Finland. “We are hoping to contest Finland, Catalunya and Rally GB, which would mean that we would contest the four rounds necessary to qualify for the award for the Fiesta Sport Trophy International. I think we are lying second in that series at the moment, by virtue of the win in Portugal, and also because the scoring system gives a point per stage win, and fortunately we won all the stages there.”

It’s been a fabulous season for the young Waterford star, and on dropped scores he is joint leader with Matt Edwards in the UK Fiesta series, he leads the Irish, and has a strong chance in the International FST series. “I believe no one has ever won all three Fiesta championships! It would be nice to try to achieve that, but there are many corners to turn before we start to think about it. At the moment I’m really enjoying driving the Fiesta’s and I’m also really looking forward to more miles in the new R2 Fiesta. We are waiting to see whether we can use that car on the remaining National Junior rounds at home. I was really impressed with it, when I drove it at Chatsworth, it felt very strong.”

There is little doubt that the former kart ace is one of the most exciting prospects in Irish rallying for quite some time, and in 2009 Craig and his team are putting everything into their efforts to climb the rallying ladder.

Fiesta SportTrophy Ireland - Breen/Riddick fly high in Donegal

Posted: June 23, 2009 1:20 PM

The fourth round of the Fiesta SportTrophy (FST) Ireland took place over the weekend at the Donegal International Rally where nine registered competitors lined up for the event. The event run by the Donegal Motor Club is based around Letterkenny and offered competitors the chance to compete on eight stages over some of the best classic Irish stages. At the end of the event it was Craig Breen (18) from Waterford and new navigator Kirsty Riddick who took the event win and increased their lead in the FST series.

Crews were met with wet weather conditions as they prepared for the first stage - Carn Hill. Breen emerged from the stage with a storming time of 7.53.6, over seven seconds quicker than the second placed crew on the stage, Robert Barrable (21) and navigator Seamus O’Grady from Dublin. Third placed crew was Mark Donnelly (17) from Omagh and navigator Paddy Robinson. Donnelly was using his own notes on the event for the first time and was treating the transition with a bit of caution at such an ea rly stage of the event. Shane Buckley and navigator Thomas Maguire dropped over twenty seconds to Breen on the opening stage of the rally blaming the loss of time due to the driver being “asleep” leaving them in 8th place at the end of the stage.

Stage two, Fanad Head was cancelled by the organisers and so instead the drivers all headed back to service where no problems were reported.

The FST crews headed back out for a repeat of the morning stages. Breen again took both stage wins on the second loop of the morning. Donnelly was second quickest on Carn Hill with Buckley finding his speed and finishing third quickest. On the repeat of Fanad Hill, Buckley claimed second quickest with Barrable and Donnelly taking joint third fastest.
Desi Henry (19) from Port Glenone struggled on the two stages as he had opted for intermediate tyres, only to find that the first stage was 100% dry. Stephen Wright and navigator Paul McGee were setting consistent times and completed the morning’s stages in fifth overall.
Henry suffered a driveshaft failure on SS4 which dropped him to the back of the field, but he would get back to service and repair the car in time for the second half of the event.

After a second service the crews faced the first of the afternoon stages Knockalla - one of the classics in Irish Rallying. With Breen now having a 22.8 second lead over second placed Donnelly he could afford to not push quite as hard leaving Buckley to take the stage win by 0.6 seconds over Breen, third quickest was Paul Quinn (20) from Dungannon and navigator Eamon Hayes.
Quinn needed to finish the event after damaging his car on the second day of the previous event but was still setting competitive times.
The stage would however see drama for Donnelly, a broken gear cable meant he was stuck in fifth for the majority of the stage dropping him down the overall order.

The fifth stage was Gary Gort. Buckley repeated his stage win to take his second of the event. Breen was again second quickest with Quinn third quickest. Donnelly would admit defeat before the start of this stage and go into retirement - an unlucky end to the event for the talented young driver.

After a quick service it was time for a second pass over the infamous Knockalla. Wright took his first fastest stage time of the event and with it moved into fourth overall in the standings. Breen was second fastest, still taking some risks including some incredible air over one of the jumps in the stage whilst Barrable was third fastest. The stage would see the demise of Henry, a broken clutch the reason for his retirement.

The final stage of the event saw Breen once again in control and take fastest FST time for the final time of the day and with it the event win. Meanwhile, Buckley had done enough after being off the pace on stage one to take his best result of the season, second overall. Barrable finished third overall after a steady and quick run throughout the day. Wright continued to push on the final stage and took fourth overall - a great result after the string of DNF’s that have so far hampered his year. Fifth went to Quinn with new pairing Declan Leonard (19) and brother Dara from Omagh taking sixth on their first outing in the series, the crew were held up after catching other cars during the event but had a successful debut. The final place went to Loughran who had a good day finishing the event with no problems, although he commented he was finding it difficult to keep up with the frontrunners but his aim is to close this gap when the series moves on to Ulster in August.

Breen now leads the Irish series by 45 points with no drop scores included, as long he scores well in Ulster he is well on the way to securing the FST Ireland crown, however one thing is for sure, the other crews will not let him walk away with the series!

Event Winner, Craig Breen said:
“I am extremely happy with the result, this is my fifth FST event win in a row and it’s great, my aim now is to just keep it going. I really enjoyed the stages and pushed very hard in the morning, which paid off. It is a shame that Mark [Donnelly] retired as he was pushing me hard again, but to be fair to all the crews the pace was level throughout and incredibly quick. Hopefully Ulster will be a case of securing some points to help me clinch the title but it is by no means over yet!"

- Craig Breen, Mark Donnelly and Robbie Barrable will all compete this weekend on the RSAC Scottish Rally, the next round of the UK series.

Donegal Rally Final Positions
Pos Driver Co-driver Road Penalty Total Difference
1 Craig Breen Kirsty Riddick -
2 Shane Buckley Thomas Maguire + 36.5
3 Robbie Barrable Seamus O Grady + 18.0
4 Stephen Wright Paul McGee + 11.3
5 Paul Quinn Eamon Hayes + 10.0
6 Declan Leonard Dara Leonard + 1.02
7 Desi Henry John Rowan + 3.48
- Mark Donnelly Paddy Robinson DNF -
- Desi Henry John Rowan DNF -


Posted: June 19, 2009 12:05 AM

1 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC) 2h 33m 30s,
2 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC) 2h 34m 21s,
3 Sean Devine/Robert McDaid (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 40m 58s,
4 Daniel Doherty/Michael Doherty (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 41m 35s,
5 P J McDermott/Francis Regan (Subaru Impreza WRC) 2h 42m 15s,
6 Glenn Allen/Damien Connolly (Toyota Corolla WRC) 2h 42m 56s,
7 Seamus Leonard/John McCafferty (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 2h 43m 49s,
8 Damien Tourish/Domhnall McAlaney (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 2h 47m 51s,
9 Danny MacBride/Rory MacBride (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) 2h 49m 47s,
10 Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 Gp N) 2h 50m 14s.

Group N:
1 Seamus Leonard/John McCafferty,
2 Damien Tourish/Domhnall McAlaney,
3 Danny MacBride/Rory MacBride.

Class winners:
Joe McGonigle/Patrick Brides (Honda Civic),
Ian Hynes/Martin Collins (Honda Civic),
Daragh O’Riordan/Sean McCarthy (Opel Corsa),
Conor Harvey/Gerard Callaghan (Honda Civic).

1 Wesley Patterson/Martin McGarrity (Ford Escort) 2h 44m 12s,
2 Rodney Wilton/Conor McMahon (Ford Escort) 2h 45m 01s,
3 Gary McPhillips/Mark Tierney (Ford Escort) 2h 45m 20s.

1 Derek Boyd/Roisin Boyd (Porsche 911) 1h 47m 39s,
2 Donal Connolly/Danny McLaughlin (Ford Escort) 1h 47m 47s,
3 David Wright/Susanne Wright (Ford Escort) 1h 48m 39s.

1 Craig Breen/Kirsty Riddick 1h 03m 17s,
2 Shane Buckley/Thomas Maguire 1h 03m 54s,
3 Robert Barrable/Seamus O’Grady 1h 04m 12s.

1 Richard Moffett/Laura Moffett (Toyota Starlet) 1h 08m 28s,
2 Mark Wedlock/Adam Kinkade (Ford Escort) 1h 08m 36s,
3 Darren McKenna/Nicola McKenna (Toyota Corolla) 1h 08m 41s.

Leaders After
SS1-20 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)

Stage Winners
SS1 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS2 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS3 Eamonn Boland/Mick Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS4 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS5 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS6 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS7 Eamonn Boland/Mick Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC)
SS8 Cancelled
SS9 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS10 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS11 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS12 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS13 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS14 Tim McNulty/David Moynihan (Subaru Imperza WRC)
SS15 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS16 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS17 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)
SS18 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS19 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC)
SS20 Gareth MacHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC)

Posted: June 19, 2009 12:05 AM

Attending at the Launch of The Topaz Donegal
International Rally 2009 in Letterkenny,
Past Donegal International winners Eugene Donnelly, Rory Kennedy,
Seamus Mc Gettigan, Cathal Curley

Irish tarmac rally Championship returns to Ireland for the Donegal Rally.

Posted: June 13, 2009 10:23 PM

After a sojourn in the Scottish Borders for the Jim Clark rally, the Irish tarmac rally Championship is back on Irish soil for this weekends Topaz Donegal International Rally, round five of Ireland’s premier rally championship. The Donegal rally is the only 3 day event in the Tarmac Championship and it is also the longest with 303 kms (187 miles) of special stages. The action commences on Friday with six stages, followed by eight stages on Saturday and six more on Sunday. All the major championship contenders have entered and the rally promises to be as exciting as ever.

Championship leader Eugene Donnelly won this rally in 2004, 2005 and last year, and is the only previous winner on the entry list. He has a useful lead in the championship and he will be very competitive in the Skoda Fabia and win number four of the season is quite likely.

Tim Mc Nulty had a fortunate win in the rally of the Lakes and was leading the Jim Clark until Donnelly overtook him. As a result Mc Nulty is second in the championship and the Subaru driver will arrive in Letterkenny in very determined mood.

Last years tarmac champion Eamon Boland is in third place just behind Mc Nulty. Boland will be driving his Impreza once again and if he can string three good days together he could score his first win in the North West.

It is fifteen years since a Ford won Donegal (Stephen Finlay Escort). The Mc Hale brothers will hope to end that drought and also emulate their father Austin who won here in 1998-the last driver from the South of Ireland to prevail. Gareth and Aaron have 30 and 25 championship points respectively and they know the championship has a lot of stage miles left.

Alastir Fisher leads the group N fight but Alan Carmichael is just a point in arrears. Ger o Donovan and Rory Byrne will be snapping at their heels. The best two wheel drive in the championship is the Renault Clio of Daragh O’Riordan, the Corkman is an amazing seventh overall and has a clear lead in his class.

The Modified section is dominated by Mk2 Escorts and Wesley Patterson has won every round to date and he remains favourite to win the Modified Challenge. However Eugene Fery, Martin Mc Gee and Manus Kelly will be provide plenty competition in this very popular competition.

In the Historic section the Porshe 911 is the car to have. Championship leader Derek Boyd will be expected to extend his margin over the similar car of Keith Mc Ivor.


Posted: June 13, 2009 10:23 PM

Busy weekend ahead for VSM in Donegal

Posted: June 13, 2009 10:19 PM

VSM are preparing for a busy Topaz Donegal International Rally next weekend with nine customers competing on the famous and extremely popular rally. Preparations are on going with nearly all cars ready to go.

At number 7 is PJ McDermott. This will be the first rally of the year for PJ but he will be hoping for a top ten finish on his home rally after impressing last year and running as high as 5th overall before retirement. Although PJ hasn’t done so much rallying this year he showed in the past couple of seasons that he is capable of setting some good times.

At number 17 is Danny MacBride. Danny will be looking for a good result in Group N on his home rally. Danny has only contested a couple of rallies this year and is really looking forward to the challenging event.

At number 39 is Trevor Bustard. Trevor really enjoyed the stages last year so has decided to give them another go this year

At number 45 is Donagh Kelly. This will be the first time since 2005 that Donagh has contested the rally. In 2005 Donagh retired with gearbox trouble on stage seven, this time he hopes to have better luck and complete the entire rally.

Three other customers competing on their home rally are James McNulty at number 48, John Gallagher at number 49 and Paul Callaghan at number 82. Each of them enjoys getting out there and contesting their home rally.

At number 75 is Pat Kirk. Pat contested the Cavan Stages Rally as a warm up for Donegal and is all set to attack the tough stages that lay ahead.

At number 111 is John Crumlish. This is John’s first rally of the year and is really looking forward to it as it is his home rally also.

VSM wish all our customers a successful Donegal Rally.

Fiestas prepare for classic Donegal

Posted: June 12, 2009 6:26 PM

Round 4 of the Fiesta SportTrophy Ireland will take place next weekend as the championship contender’s head for the famous and incredibly popular Topaz Donegal International Rally run by Donegal Motor Club. Nine crews will compete over 125km of classic northwest Ireland Donegal stages.

The rally organised by Donegal Motor Club will start early on Saturday morning from the famous Mount Errigal hotel. Championship leader in the Irish series Craig Breen (18) from Waterford and navigator Anthony O’Connaill have a 15 point advantage over second place man in the championship Mark Donnelly, Breen will be hoping to leave the rally with another podium maximum. Breen comes to the event fresh on the back of a non-championship win at the FST Shootout competition held at the Chatsworth Rally Show in the UK where he won the prize of driving the new Fiesta R2, a prize he thoroughly enjoyed.

Donnelly (17) from Omagh and navigator Paddy Robinson have had a mixed start to the season. With a fourth place and two second places over the first three rounds Donnelly is not far away from his first win. On the previous two rounds he has led both events outright but has had to settle for second after suffering problems. Donnelly will aim to take his first win in Donegal.

Paul Quinn (20) from Dungannon lies third in the championship. Sorcha Kelly who partnered him in Killarney will once again navigate Quinn. Quinn finished fourth on the third round of the championship after setting some promising times. Quinn has never won an FST round but will hope he can make history in Donegal next weekend.

Fourth entered FST is Shane Buckley and navigator Thomas Maguire. Buckley has led FST rounds twice this year, an impressive feat in his debut season driving the car, however a DNF on round three has slightly setback his title hopes. Buckley will want to finish this event with a maximum points haul and claim the victory he has been chasing all season.

Newcomer to the series this year Robbie Barrable (21) from Dublin and navigator Seamus O’Grady have increased their speed during each event, culminating with a third overall in Killarney. After the FST event finished in Killarney Barrable as well as a number of other crews went on to complete the full International event, during the second day Barrable continued with his impressive times and will hope to use this added experience to help him gain his first win.

Donegal sees the arrival of a new competitor; Declan Leonard (19) from Omagh, navigated by brother Dara Leonard. Leonard has competed in selected events in the Northern Irish Championship in his Fiesta and now is looking to gain one-make experience against the other FST registered crews.

Garrett Loughran from Ballygawley and navigator brother Philip Loughran sat out the last round as they repaired their car from damage sustained at the Circuit of Ireland. The brothers will look to improve on their fifth place on Round one in Galway.

Desi Henry (19) from Port Glenone and navigator John Rowan have suffered two DNF on the previous two rounds, however they set a fastest overall stage time in Killarney and will hope to repeat this performance again in Donegal and finish the event in the top three, helping them get their season back on track.

The final crew competing at the event is that of Stephen Wright and Paul McGee. Stephen has had an incredibly frustrating start to the season with three DNF’s, however, before retiring he has been running consistently in the top three overall, in Killarney he even led the rally at one point. His main aim for Donegal will be to finish the event and get some points on the championship leaderboard.

Championship leader, Craig Breen said:
“I am really looking forward to the event as I have not driven competitively for a good while. This rally is full of great classic stages that I have not driven before like Knockella, and I am really excited about the challenge. We are obviously moving into the latter half of the year and its vital to get some good points now but I am sure the competition around me will be as strong as ever, so I’m hoping for a good run”

Topaz Donegal International Rally is Poised

Posted: June 10, 2009 4:14 PM

The wheels are rolling in earnest now for the 19th-21st June Topaz Donegal Rally, and the Donegal Motor Club has again laid out a demanding route and attracted a top class entry for the event, which is round 5 of the Tarmac Championship. Letterkenny again plays host to the rally, and as well as the 151 cars in the main event, there are once more additional categories for Historics and Juniors. Inclusive in the main field are the National Modified cars while the exciting Fiesta Sporting Trophy contenders compete over the Saturday stages.

Heading the main field is Gareth MacHale and his co-driver Brian Murphy in their Focus WRC, Gareth heading six of the Tarmac Championship World Rally Car drivers, Eugene Donnelly, Eamonn Boland, Tim McNulty, Derek McGarrity and Aaron MacHale. In reality, any of those top six are capable of spraying the champagne at the Letterkenny finish following the expected three days of high speed rally action. At numbers 7 & 8 are two more World Rally Cars to be driven by Donegal men PJ McDermott and Daniel Doherty, with another local man, Shaun Gallagher at 9 and Seamus Leonard at 10, both in GpN Mitsubishi Lancers.

Both PJ McDermott and Daniel Doherty are capable of springing a big surprise. Although McDermott hasn’t done so much rallying this year he showed in the past couple of seasons that he can set superb times. Daniel Doherty’s P2000 Subaru has languished in Kenny McKinstry’s workshop since last year’s Donegal, so in theory Daniel and his co-driving brother Michael may be rusty. But last year they also came out of rally retirement, and in that same P2000 Impreza shocked the establishment with their speed. An extra spur for the rallying brothers this time will be rallying over the fabulous roads of their home territory on the Inishowen Peninsula. It is seven years since the rally went up there.

Letterkenny’s Shaun Gallagher has concentrated in contesting the Junior section of the World Rally Championship in recent years, so it will be a treat for him to contest his home rally again, this time in his GpN Lancer. However Shaun won’t get it easy as there is a fabulous line-up of 20 GpN competition over and beyond Seamus Leonard seeded immediately behind. Just two we will mention here are Garry Jennings, who starts at 11 and has Rory Kennedy co-driving. For Rory this will be his 30th time competing on the rally and he is just as enthusiastic now as he was then.

Rory co-drove for the late great Bertie Fisher for many years on the Donegal Rally. This year there is another Fisher name in the Donegal entry list, that of Bertie’s nephew Alastair who, judging by his speed on his first season in a GpN Lancer, is a real chip of the old block.

Twelve years have elapsed since there was a MacHale name on the winner’s trophy here in Donegal. That was Gareth’s father Austin and it was his 2nd Donegal International win. Gareth MacHale has been close many times to winning a round of the Tarmac Championship, and he would dearly love to do it here in Donegal, scene of so many epic rally battles. He was lying 3rd on the rally last year until it was stopped prematurely, and he turned in some stunning times on that occasion. Gareth’s preparation team has checked every nut and bolt on his fabulous Focus WRC for this Donegal Rally and he is certainly in with every chance of breaking into the Donegal and indeed the Tarmac Championship honours list.

Speaking from his Dublin base Gareth commented before the rally, “Yes, it would be good to win in Donegal. It is one of my favourite rallies. I love the bumpy and jumpy stages and being over three days it will be a real challenge. When you look at all the top drivers, it took them years before they started winning, building up the experience.”

Five years ago Eugene Donnelly scored his first Donegal Rally win and the Maghera man whooped with joy then, declaring that it has been his dream since as long as he could remember to win Donegal. Eugene went on from there to become multiple Tarmac Champion and one of Ireland’s most prolific rally winners.

Eugene’s sentiments on the Donegal Rally haven’t changed since that first win. He rates it as very special as well as being the toughest of challenges. In theory Eugene’s Skoda Fabia, slightly older than the current crop of World Rally Subarus and Fords, should be outgunned. But Eugene seems to have this magic touch of making underrated cars go faster than everything else. Following his great run in the Skoda at Chatsworth last weekend, Eugene commented: “I’m really looking forward to Donegal. It is a big undertaking, and our thoughts are not going to be totally on outright speed, on winning, but more on our goal for the year, Championship points.”

Preparation and suspension set-up have a lot to do with it as well, nowhere more so than here in Donegal and Eugene’s engineer Derek McGeehan leaves no stone unturned in the preparation of this Fabia. Eugene currently leads the Tarmac points, with 48. This year’s Killarney Rally of the Lakes winner Tim McNulty is 2nd on 36. Current Tarmac Champion Eamonn Boland has 34. Gareth MacHale 30, Aaron MacHale 25 and Alastair Fisher, top GpN exponent in the overall standings, is sixth and has 16 points.

Heading the modified category in this bulging Donegal entry is young Scotsman David Bogie, who drives one of the exciting Metro 6R4s. He will be up against a veritable plethora of the finest Mk2 Escort machinery in the country, with such drivers as Wesley Patterson, Rodney Wilton, Gary McPhillips, Martin McGee, Manus Kelly, Damien Gallagher and Camillus Bradley just some of the top names sure to provide lots of fireworks.

Derek Boyd, to be co-driven by his daughter Roisin, heads the Historic category in his Porsche 911 and young Craig Breen/Gareth Roberts head the Fiesta list. The Historics join the rally on the Saturday afternoon stages. The main rally starts at Letterkenny, from An Grainan Theatre, at 9.45am. travelling to Inishowen where there are 6.stages on Friday, 8.on Saturday and 6..on Sunday, before the finish at the Mount Errigal Hotel on Sunday evening at 5.54pm.

Clerk of the Course, Danny Gormley. said “I want to thank the many helpers who gave up their time to put this event together, and to Topaz for their commitment to the event. Their dedication to the event was very much appreciated by all in Donegal and to rally fans throughout Ireland.”

Finally we would like to emphasise that safety is uppermost in the minds of the rally organisers and we would ask everyone involved in the rally, spectators, service crews and competitors to be aware at all times of their safety and the safety of everyone else involved. Our thanks go to all those who are helping with the organisation, the Garda Siochana, Topaz Energy. Donegal Oil, Inishowen Oil, Ordnance Survey Ireland, Eircom, O2, Mount Errigal Hotel , Donegal County Council & Engineers, Letterkenny Town Council, Health Services Executive, Donegal Tourism, North West Tourism, Tony Kelly Cars, McGinley Motors, Hegarty’s Auto Services, Letterkenny Chevrolet, Medical Officers And Rescue Teams, Diver’s Garage, Letterkenny Institute Of Technology, Local Newspapers, Highland Radio, Brian & Liz Patterson, Derryveagh Crystal, Limavady Printing Co., Hills Of Donegal Tourism, Donegal Road Safety Working Group, Civil Defence.

Entry Lists

Posted: June 4, 2009 8:40 AM

No Driver /Co Driver (Make Model) [Class]
1 Gareth McHale/Brian Murphy (Ford Focus WRC) [8]
2 Eugene Donnelly/Paddy Toner (Skoda Fabia WRC) [8]
3 Eamon Boland/MJ Morrissey (Subaru Impreza WRC) [8]
4 Tim McNulty/David Moynihan (Subaru Impreza WRC) [8]
5 Derek McGarrity/James McKee (Subaru Impreza WRC) [8]
6 Aaron McHale/Barry Goodman (Ford Focus WRC) [8]
7 PJ McDermott/Paddy Robinson (Subaru Impreza WRC) [8]
8 Daniel Doherty/Michael Doherty (Subaru Impreza WRC) [8]
9 Shaun Gallagher/Charlie McGinty (Mitsubshi Lancer Evo 9) [4]
10 Seamus Leonard/John McCafferty (Mitsibushi Lancer Evo 9) [4]
11 Garry Jennings/Rory Kennedy (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [4]
12 Sean Devine/TBA (Subaru Impreza WRC) [8]
14 Glenn Allen/Damien Connolly (Toyota Corolla WRC) [8]
15 Damien Tourish/Domhnall McAliney (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [4]
16 David Bogie/TBA (MG Metro 6R4) [15]
17 Danny MacBride/Rory McBride (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) [4]
18 Wesley Patterson/Martin McGarrity (Ford Escort) [14]
19 Rodney Wilton/Conor McMahon (Ford Escort) [14]
20 Gary Mc Phillips/Mark Tierney (Ford Escort) [14]
21 Martin Magee/Arthar Kierans (Ford Escort) [14]
22 Manus Kelly/Donal Barrett (Ford Escort) [14]
23 Damien Gallagher/Mac Walsh (Ford Escort) [13]
24 Camillus Bradley/Danny Coneill (Ford Escort) [13]
25 Robbie Peoples/Keith Steward (Ford Escort) [14]
26 Alastair Fisher/Barry McNulty (Mitubishi Lancer Evo 9) [4]
27 Adrian Hetherington/Gary Nolan (Ford Escort) [14]
28 Brian Brogan/Damien McGettigan (Ford Escort) [14]
29 Frank Kelly/Liam Brennan (Ford Escot) [13]
30 Maurice Moffett/Jason McKenna (Toyota Starlet) [14]
31 Eugene Ferry/Derek Henna (Ford Escort) [14]
32 Calum Duffy/Ian Duffy (Ford Escort) [14]
33 Declan McNaughton/Denis O'Mahony (Ford Escort) [14]
34 Paul Barrett/Kevin Bocott (Ford Focus) []
35 Seamus O'Connell/TBA (Ford Escort) [14]
36 Alan Carmichael/Ivor Lamont (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) [4]
37 Seamus Heron/Jerry McVeigh ( ) [4]
38 Gavin Harris/David Doherty (Subaru Impreza N12B) [4]
39 Trevor Bustard/Kenny Bustard (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) [4]
40 Ivan Stewart/TBA (Bmw M3) [15]
41 Jack Maguire/Paul Maguire (Ford Cosworth) [15]
42 Conor Curley/Nigel Frazer (Ford Escort) [14]
43 John O'Donnell/Johnny Baird (Ford Escort) [13]
44 Jer O'Donovan/Sean Haydes (Subaru Impreza) [4]
45 Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan (Mitsubishi Evo9) [4]
46 Stanley Ballantine/Andrew Gamble (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo9) [4]
47 Rory Byrne/Jeremy Patterson (Mitsubishi Evo9) [4]
48 James McNulty/Karol McBride (Mitsubishi Evo6) [1600]
49 John Gallagher/Brendan McElhinney (Mitsubishi Evo6) [16]
50 Darragh O'Riordan/Sean McCarthy (Renault Clio) [6]
51 Philip Shaw/Derek Branaghan (Bmw M3) [14]
52 Seamus Hegarty/Johnny Gallagher (Ford Escort) [14]
53 Geoffrey Dolan/Conor Murphy (Talbot Sunbeam) [13]
54 Declan Boyle/Brian Bogle (Ford Escort) [14]
55 Gary McElhinney/Tba (Ford Escort) [13]
56 Columba Heena/Ryan Moore (Toyota Corolla) [11]
57 Samuel Kelso/Gareth Doherty (Ford Escort) [13]
58 Mick McQuaid/Paul Kelly (Ford Escort) [14]
59 John Waring/Tba (Ford Escort) [8]
60 Mark Barnett/Vincent Fergus (Ford Escort) [13]
61 James Browne/Terence McGee (Ford Escort) [13]
62 Vivian Hamill/Paul Hamill (Ford Escort RS) [14]
63 Daniel Mc Kenna/Andrew Grennan (Ford Escort) [12]
64 Conor Waters/John Waters (Ford Escort) [14]
65 Shaun Murphy/Tba (Ford Escort) [13]
66 Kevin Gallagher/Gavin Gallagher (Vauxhall Corsa) [11]
67 William McFadden/Clive Aiken (Ford Escort) [13]
68 Thomas Keys/Liam Doherty (Ford Escort) [13]
69 JP Logue/Patrick Durning (Honda Civic) [13]
70 Stephen McFerran/Ellen McFerran (Ford Escort) [13]
71 Bernard McGinley/Sorcha Kelly (Toyota Starlet) [11]
72 John Ward/Gary McNern (Toyota Corolla) [11]
73 Kevin Bradley/Siobhan Cassidy (Ford Escort) [11]
74 Paul Doherty/Hugh Coll (Toyota Corolla) [11]
75 Pat Kirk/Peter Ward (Mitsubishi Evo9) [4]
76 Padraig Neville/Tba (Subaru Impreza) [4]
77 Ciaran Brogan/Dermot McGettigan (Mitsubishi Evo6) [3]
78 Pat Neville/Tba (Subaru Impreza) [4]
79 Seamus Gallagher/Tba (Citroen Saxo) [6]
80 Andrew Connor/Kevin Connor (Honda Civic) [11]
81 Gary Cooney/Martin Costello (Mitsubishi Evo9) [4]
82 Paul Callaghan/Barry Callaghan (Subaru Impreza) [4]
83 Peter Green/Laura Greene (Ford Escort) [14]
84 Patrick Bonner/Anthony Gallagher (Ford Escort) [12]
85 Eamon McCrystal/Kevin Bann (Ford Escort) [13]
86 David Staunton/TBA (Toyota Corolla) [11]
87 Martin O'Donnell/Leona O'Donnell (Honda Civic) [2]
88 Terry McGonagle/Mark Curran (Honda Civic) [11]
89 JP Quigley/Vinnie Boyd (Honda Civic Sr) [2]
90 Connor Harvey/Gerard Callaghan (Honda Civic R3) [a7]
91 Adrian Cannon/Ivan Hernon (Honda Civic) [2]
92 Christopher Boyce/Oran McLaughlin (Honda Civic) [7]
93 Joseph McGonigle/Kim Baker (Honda Civicsr) [2]
94 Toni Kelly/Tony McDaid (Honda Civic Type R) [a7]
95 Eamon Gallagher/Paul Brogan (Ford Escort) [12]
96 Aidan Caldwell/Paul Vaughan (Ford Escort) [7]
97 Alan Sweeney/Timmy Lunn (Ford Escort) [11]
98 Alaistair Hetherington/John Coll (Ford Escort) []
99 Kelvin Keys/Kevin Gallinagh (Ford Escort) [11]
100 Stephen McGurk/Tony McHugh (Ford Escort) []
101 Stuart Rankin/William Coyle (Ford Escort) [12]
102 Kevin Kelly/Paul Hegarty (Ford Escort) [13]
103 Ian Millar/David McLean (Ford Escort) [6?]
104 Roger Donan/Tba (Ford Puma 51600) [6]
105 Paddy Walker/Niall Burns (Peugeot 206 Xsi) [6]
106 Danny Gillespie/Eamon Gillespie (Honda Civic) [2]
107 Aidan Friel/Ciaran O'Donnell (Honda Civic) [3]
108 Niall Donoghue/Shane Greene (Honda Civic) [2]
109 Brendan McDaid/Tba (Ford Escort) [13]
110 Kieran Roarty/James Doherty (Mitsubishi Evo8) [4]
111 John Crumlish/Gerard Mullan (Subaru Impreza Sti) [4]
112 Gerard Sharkey/TBA (Honda Civic) [3]
113 Darren Doherty/Paul Hughes (Subaru Impreza N11) [16]
114 Michael Peoples/Stephen Gallionagh (Ford Escort) [12]
115 Patrick Boyle/Donal McCole (Toyota Corolla) [11]
116 Eamon McGuigan/Michael Moran (Ford Escort) [12]
117 Paul McDermott/Tba (Honda Civic) [3]
118 Paddy O'Reilly/Barry McGill (Ford Escort) [14]
119 PJ Bonner/TBA (Ford Escort) [14]
120 John Dolan/Joe Dolan (Ford Escort) [12]
121 Gareth Morgan/Thornton Tba (Ford Escort) [11]
122 James Culliney/Eddie McLoughlan (Ford Escort) [12]
123 Kevin Bradley/Ollie Harvey (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) [16]
124 Colin McMenamin/Tba (Honda Civic) [2]
125 Andrew Hegarty/Tba (Peugeot 206) [a6]
126 JR McDaid/Ivor Scott ( ) []
127 Hugh Martin Toye/Breeda Toye (Honda Civic) [11]
128 Jonathan McKenna/Greg O'Reilly (Peugeot 106 Si6) [6]
129 Cartha Boyle/Pat Carig (Ford Escort) [11]
130 John Russell/Barry Murphy (Honda Civic) [11]
131 Stephen Furey/Trevor Graham (Toyota Corolla) [11]
132 Ian Hynes/Tba (Honda Civic Typ R) [3]
133 Gavin McMenamin/Tba (Honda Civic Sir) [11]
134 Alistair Glenn/Martin Sharkey (Peugeot 206) [6]
135 Timothy Duggan/Tba (Seat Ibiza) [7]
136 Martin Devine/Joe McNulty (Honda Civic) [2]
137 Damien McVey/Barry McBride (Vauxhall Nova) [9]
138 John Mulholland/Eamon Gorman (Skoda Fabia vrstni) [a8]
139 Andrew Stewart/Tony Gallagher (MG 2r) [6]
140 Peter Gallagher/Keith Murray (Peugeot 206) [6]
141 Derek McGonigle/Edward McGonagle (Ford Mrk2) [12]
142 Grainnia McDaid/Graninne Moore (Peugeot 206) []
143 Glenda Boyle/Kylie Boyle (Honda Civic) [3]
144 Paul Casey/Ken Carmody (Peugeot 205) [10]
145 Darragh Kelly/Gerry Hughes (Peugeot 205) [10]
146 Keith Naughton/Derek Flanagan (Subaru Impreza) [16]
147 Anthony Coyle/Shaun Gallagher (Honda Integra) [7]
148 Michael Carron/Naill McCalliog (Honda Civic Vtec) [16]
149 Declan Cullen/James Cullen (Honda Civic) [16]
150 Danny Cannon/Barry Mailey (Honda Civic) [11]
151 Raymond Scott/Patrick Gallagher (Ford Escort) [11]
152 Conal Hegarty/Shaun O'Hart (Toyota Corolla) [11]

R1 Patrick McElwee/Kevin Connor (Toyota Corolla) [11]
R2 Anthony Neville/TBA Tba (Subaru Impreza) [4]
R3 Shane Orr/Barry McBride (Honda Civic Type R) [3]
R4 Charlie Niland/Ruth O'Kane (Honda Civic) [2]
R5 Johnny Hegarty/Kevin McFadden (Toyota Corolla) [11]
R6 Peter McCarry/Loretta Kelly (Ford Model) [13]
R7 Paul Gallagher/James Gallagher (Ford Escort) [11]
R8 Garry Gallagher/Lee Cullen (Toyota Corolla) []
R9 William Vance/Tom Vance (Mitsubishi Evo8) []
R10 Enda Carr/Paddy Carr (Ford Escort) [10]
R11 Stirling Taylor/Adrian Crawford (Honda Civic) [3]
R12 PJ Gallen/TBA (Ford Escort) [13]
R13 Shane Normoyle/PJ O'Dowd (Peugeot 106) [1]
R14 Jonathan Greer/TBA (Mitsubshi Evo 9) [4]
R15 Martin McPhillips/TBA (Toyota Corolla) [11]
R16 Martin McLaughlin/Owen Feeny (Ford Escort) []
R17 John Hickey/TBA (Ford Fubaru) [15]
R18 Fearghal Allen/TBA (BMW M3) [14]
R19 Kevin O'Donaghue/Denis Coffey (Ford Escort) [14]

No. Driver /Co Driver (Make Model) [Class]
FST1 Craig Breen/Roberts Gareth (Ford Fiesta ST) [3]
FST2 Mark Donnelly/Robinson Paddy (Ford Fiesta ST) [3]
FST3 Paul Quinn/Kelly Sorcha (Ford Fiesta ST) [3]
FST4 Shane Buckley/Maguire Thomas (Ford Fiesta ST) [3]
FST5 Robert Barrable/O'Grady Seamus (Ford Fiesta ST) [3]
FST6 Leonard Leonard/Leonard Dara (Ford Fiesta ST) [3]
FST7 Garrett Loughran/Loughran Philip (Ford Fiesta ST) [3]
FST8 Desmond Henry/Rowan John (Ford Fiesta ST) [3]
FST9 Stephen Wright/McGee Paul (Ford Fiesta ST) [3]

No. Driver /Co Driver (Car ) [Class]
H1 Derek Boyd/Roisin Boyd (Porsche 911) [C2]
H2 Keith McIvor/David Burns (Porsche 911) [C2]
H3 Donal Connolly/Danny McLaughlin (Ford Escort) []
H4 Brian Pat Doherty/Michael O'Kane (Ford Escort MK1 BDA) []
H5 Rory Tougher/Harry Armour (Morris Minicooper) [B2]
H6 William Todd/Stephen O'Hanlon (Austin Minicoppers) [B2]
H7 Niall Keane/Sean Heneghan (Hillman Avenger Tiger) [C1]
H8 Brian Crawford/Finian Hannigan (Talbot Sunbeam) [D2]
H9 Niall Crighton/Gregory Roberts (Ford Lotus Cortina) [B3]
H10 David Wright/Susanne Wright (Ford Escort) [D5]
H11 Hugh Gibbons/Gavin O'Donnell (Ford Escort M1) [C1]
H12 Gerard McGinley/John Coll (Talbot Sunbeam) [D2]
H13 Gary Madden/ Tba (Ford Escort) []
H14 Andrew Harvey/Darren Harvey (Talbot Sunbeam) [D1]
H15 George Baskin/Jenna Bennett (Ford Escort) [D3]
H16 Aidan O'Connor/Ian Regan (Ford Escort RS2000) [D3]
H17 Karl McDermott/ Tba (Ford Escort) [D3]
H18 Hubert Valkenborghs/David Valkenborghs (Talbot Sunbeam) [D2]

Full Entry lists in Excel on the Event Website.
Reserve list will be updated nightly on the Event website:

Posted: June 4, 2009 8:39 AM

Niall McShea, Toni Kelly, Eddie O’Brian CEO Topaz Ireland

We’re all goin’ to Inishowen!
Topaz Donegal International Rally worth up to €25 million to local economy

Posted: May 12, 2009 4:02 PM

Topaz, Ireland’s largest fuel and convenience retailer has announced details of its sponsorship of this year’s Topaz Donegal International Rally Ireland.

This year’s rally is taking place from June 19th to the 21st, and will see 151 drivers from all over the country taking part in the three day event over the 300 kilometre course.

It’s estimated the rally is worth more than €25 million to the Donegal economy. Last year Topaz signed a 3 year deal which secured the future of what is one of Ireland’s oldest annual rally competitions. The company will invest almost a quarter of a million euro in sponsoring and supporting the event over the 3 years.

This year the rally makes a welcome return to the ‘Edge of the World’ aka the Inishowen peninsula for three stages, incorporating dramatic coastal routes. Over 50,000 spectators are expected to line the route of the rally as Ireland’s top drivers compete for championships points as part of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. The event will also incorporate an Historic Rally competition and the Fiesta Challenge on Saturday 20th followed by the Junior Rally on Sunday 21st.

Danny Gormley, Clerk of the Course said “We are delighted with Topaz’s continued support of the Rally, particularly in the current economic climate. Ireland is known to have the best tarmac stages in world rallying. After a gap of 7 years the Topaz Donegal International Rally is going back to Inishowen for some of the most challenging and spectacular tests to be found anywhere. We have changed the rally route significantly for 2009 with many new stages and only three of those from last year. We believe the route will provide the drivers and indeed the spectators with some truly memorable rallying .”

Eddie O’Brien, the newly appointed CEO of Topaz and a native of Donegal said. “This is the biggest event in the region - not just for rally enthusiasts - but for the economy of the north west as a whole. Topaz, as a fully Irish owned and managed company, is committed to supporting local entrepreneurs and community initiatives in a practical way. Right now this rally is more important than ever to the economy of the region.”

O’Brien went on to explain what made the Donegal Rally so special. “Given that I grew up in Buncrana I have fond memories of the rally, so I know what it means to the county and the region. The commitment of the organisers – some 500 volunteers work on the rally on a daily basis – and the support of the community, together with the enthusiasm of the spectators make it a unique event. The rally also gives Donegal a wonderful opportunity to showcase its natural beauty to a domestic and international audience in a very dramatic setting. Everyone at Topaz is delighted to be involved and to play our part in helping make it a success.”


Posted: April 29, 2009 12:57 PM

Donegal Motor Club has released preliminary details of the Topaz Donegal International Rally Ireland for the June 19th – 21st event. The rally is a pivotal round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, and incorporates a National Rally for modified cars, a section for older, Historic, rally cars and a round of the Ford Fiesta Challenge on Saturday 20th. A Junior Rally, for up and coming drivers, takes place on Sunday 21st.

Danny Gormley, Clerk of the Course said “We are delighted with Topaz’s continued support of the Rally, particularly in the current economic climate. They have brought new thinking to the event and have helped us open up the sport to a much wider audience. Topaz is a wholly Irish owned company and their commitment has been fantastic. They understand the significance of the Rally for the region, as well as being a major sporting event.”

“For 2009 we’ve made fairly radical changes. The route has been given a major shake-up and only two stages from last year’s route remain the same. I have no doubt competitors are going to find it a real driving challenge”

“Donegal poses a unique challenge in Irish rallying. For example, the National part of the event, for modified cars, has taken on a life of its own in recent years. It seems that the very best Mark 2 Escort crews in Ireland and the British Isles have adopted it as their unofficial ‘Olympics.’ That part of the entry has proved to be very popular with spectators.”

“I should say a particular thanks to Motorsport Ireland who have helped us with measures to give competitors better value for money. This year will see the introduction of “Rally Restart”, where competitors who break down may be allowed return to the rally the following day, subject to certain conditions. ”

“I would appeal to competitors to study the entry selection criteria in the Regulations carefully and to provide the fullest possible details of their results. We are also inviting help from Marshals available to help us run the rally and they can contact us via the website.

Regulations / Details

Posted: January 1, 2009 12:01 AM

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