Donnelly wins Galway Rally

Eugene Donnelly and Paul Kiely in their Esker Toyota Corolla secured back-to-back victories on the First Choice Flooring Galway International Rally, the opening round of the Pirelli Irish Championship.

When their chief rivals, Tim McNulty and Anthony Nestor crashed their Subaru at the end of Special Stage 14, Donnelly was able to coast to victory.

He finished with a winning margin of one minute and 46 seconds over the Ford Focus of Eamonn Boland and Francis Regan with Peadar Hurson and Damien Connolly in a Subaru, a further 12 second behind in third.

Donnelly’s lead was cut to 18 seconds after three of today’s nine stages, a time consuming overshoot responsible for most of the time loss.

Adjustments to the suspension system paid dividends and he went on to extend his lead to some 27 seconds as McNulty never gave up the chase until he crashed

Behind the top three, Derek McGarrity got on the pace today, but it was too late - although he did make a brave effort to snatch third.

Ray Breen (Ford Focus) was fifth from Andrew Nesbitt, who was happy with the performance of his Subaru.

Austin MacHale finished seventh while Gareth Jones (Subaru) was eighth despite an off road excursion.

Colm Murphy (Subaru) won Group N – finishing 41.1 seconds ahead of the Mitsubishi of James Foley.

E. Donnelly (Toyota) 2h. 19m. 36.2s.

E. Boland (Ford Focus) 2h. 21m. 22.2s.

P. Hurson (Subaru) 2h. 21m. 34.2s.

D. McGarrity (Subaru) 2h. 21m. 46.9s.

R. Breen (Ford Focus) 2h. 22m. 26.9s.

A. Nesbitt (Subaru) 2h. 22m. 32.5s.

A. MacHale (Ford Focus) 2h. 27m. 19.8s.

Gareth Jones (Subaru) 2h. 27m. 40.7s.

C. Murphy (Subaru) 2h. 28m. 34.1s.

J. Foley (Mitsubishi) 2h. 29m. 15.5s.

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