The Joule Donegal International Rally ended in tragic circumstances early yesterday when Manus Kelly, who won the event for the last three years, lost his life after his Hyundai i20 R5 crashed and left the road on Stage 15, Fanad Head.
Donegal’s Donagh Kelly (Ford Focus WRC) and his Monaghan co-driver Conor Foley pulled out all the stops to deny the Monaghan/Wexford duo of Josh Moffett/Andy Hayes victory in the Four Seasons Hotel Monaghan Rally, round three of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship.
With two wins from two rounds, Monaghan’s Josh Moffett is on home territory for Sunday’s Four Seasons Hotel Monaghan Rally, round three of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship as he aims to increase his lead over his main title rivals Declan Boyle and Roy White.
In front of one of the biggest crowds of spectators in recent times, Waterford’s Craig Breen and his Killarney co-driver Paul Nagle took their Ford Fiesta R5 to victory in the Corrib Oil Galway International Rally, the opening round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.
Although Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) won the Clare Rally, the penultimate round of the Triton Showers National Rally Championship, he faces an uphill battle to win the series after his main rival Donegal’s Declan Boyle, co-driven by James O’Reilly came home in fifth.
Having spurned a chance to tighten his grip on the Triton Showers National Rally Championship, Donegal’s Declan Boyle (Ford Fiesta WRC) faces title rival Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta WRC) on Sunday’s Charlie McEnery Motor Services Clare Rally, the penultimate round of the series.
Josh Moffett’s victory in the Enniskillen Trailer Parts & Spares Lakeland Rally that saw him clinch the Valvoline Irish Forest Rally Championship, was mired in controversy after he was excluded from the results; but after two appeals and a stewards’ meeting the decision was overturned and he was re-instated as rally winner some five hours later.
Cork driver and four-time British Rally Champion Keith Cronin will campaign the new generation Hyundai i20 R5-N in this year’s British Rally Championship that includes rounds of the World Rally Championship (Wales Rally GB) and the European Rally Championship (Rally Ypres).
After a dramatic opening on the final leg of the Easter Rally in Antrim, when the Subaru WRC of overnight leaders Derek McGarrity/Paddy Robinson failed to start after transmission troubles, Monaghan’s Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5) and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes took the spoils and consolidated their lead in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.
Leading from the start Donegal’s Donagh Kelly (Ford Focus WRC) swept to a fifth successive victory in the Quality Hotel West Cork Rally. Co-driven by Monaghan’s Conor Foley they finished 45.8 seconds clear of Monaghan’s Josh Moffett and co-driver Andy Hayes with Irish Tarmac champions Monaghan’s Sam Moffett and Cork’s Karl Atkinson (Fiesta R5) in third.
There are events that will always buck the trend in Irish rallying and this weekend’s Quality Hotel West Cork Rally, the opening rounds of the Irish Tarmac Championship and the PlasticBags.ie Southern 4 Rally Championship is a prime example.
Donegal’s Declan Boyle and his Monaghan co-driver James O’Reilly made the perfect start to this year’s Triton Showers National Rally Championship with victory in the Achill Island-based Óstán Oileán Acla/Connacht Print & Signs Mayo Rally.
Cork racing ace Lucca Allen has teamed up with the British-based Fortec Motorsport outfit for this season’s British Formula 4 Championship powered by Ford EcoBoost — a category recognised as an important step on the ladder to F1.
Clare’s Pádraig Egan (Subaru) won the head-to-head in the four-wheel drive category of the Herospec Rallysprint in Mondello Park yesterday, while Wexford’s Jason O’Keeffe (Peugeot 205) netted the two-wheel drive class and Cavan’s Russell Woods claimed victory in the Buggy class.
Second fastest through yesterday’s shakedown stage for RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de Espana, round 11 of the World Rally Championship, Irish pair Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle spearhead Citroen’s challenge for the three-day encounter.
The first day of the Joule Donegal International Rally in Letterkenny was a battle of the Kellys — Frosses driver Donagh Kelly and Letterkenny’s Manus Kelly — while Fermanagh’s Garry Jennings remains very much in touch.
Donegal’s Donagh Kelly has won numerous Irish rallies some of which culminated in National and Tarmac Championship titles — one of three drivers to win both in the same season. Yet, the one rally that has eluded him is, ironically, the Joule Donegal International Rally.
The Rathkeale House Hotel Circuit of Munster on Sunday marks the halfway point of the eight round Triton Showers National Rally Championship. However, it also contains several subplots including preparation for the next rounds of the British and Irish Tarmac Championships and also forms part of the Top Part West Coast regional series.
Taking the lead on the third stage, Donegal cousins Declan and Brian Boyle (Ford Fiesta WRC) won the Hotel Kilmore Cavan Rally finishing 32.1 seconds ahead of the Subaru WRC of Fermanagh’s Garry Jennings and his Letterkenny co-driver Rory Kennedy.
Cork racing driver Matt Griffin and his Clearwater Racing team-mates Mok Weng Sun and Keita Sawa claimed victory in the LMGTE Am category of ‘The 6 Hours of Silverstone’, the opening round of the World Endurance Championship at Silverstone yesterday.
Dovetailing the Triton Showers National Rally Championship and the Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship doesn’t pose any huge problems for Monaghan’s Sam Moffett, who leads the former and is second in the latter. It’s an interesting combination as he drives a Fiesta WRC in the National series and a Fiesta R5 on the Tarmac campaign.