With newly crowned champion Roy White (Fiesta WRC) an absentee, the massive entry remains hugely competitive and will be led by Donegal’s Declan Boyle in his Fiesta WRC. The Lettermacaward driver, who has won two national titles in the last four seasons and has four wins to his credit in the current campaign, will have his final outing of what’s been a tough season. “ I’m looking forward to doing nothing for the rest of year and maybe a better start to next year, we have the pace but just need that bit of luck.” Boyle will not have it all his own way on the stages that skirt the Wild Atlantic Way. Apart from the terrain, the presence of former Tarmac champion Fermanagh’s Garry Jennings in his S12B Subaru WRC will certainly raise the level of performance. The Fermanagh man is also a former winner of the Harvest and has the unique record of winning all three major rallies organised by the Donegal Motor Club. His last outing in the Subaru was on the Donegal International but he retired after the opening stage.
Earlier this season another local driver Manus Kelly (Subaru WRC) took victory in the Carlow Rally on his debut in a Subaru WRC. That was in preparation for the Donegal International that he went on to win – finishing a mere half-second ahead of the Citroen DS3 R5 of Keith Cronin.
A top five championship finish in Donegal will be enough for Niall Maguire (Subaru WRC) to secure second overall, the popular Monaghan driver reckons he has lost count of the number of times he’s finished second in the national series as the former triple champion is chasing that elusive fourth title since 2004.
Elsewhere, Donegal’s Joseph McGonigle debuts a Skoda Fabia R5, Dundalk’s Brendan Cumiskey (Fiesta R5) will provide a barometer. Frank Wray (Subaru WRC) is also amongst the top ten that is completed by the Gary Kiernan (Escort), Declan Gallagher (Toyota Starlet) and Chris Armstrong (Escort).
Gallagher has had few outings this year and will relish the competition with both and fellow Donegal driver Brian Brogan (Escort). Two titles within the Triton Showers series will be determined in Donegal. The Motorsport Safety Group N award rests between defending champion Aidan Wray (Mitsubishi Evo X) and Monaghan’s Shane Maguire (Mitsubishi Evo IX). The Junior series could even be sorted by a tie-break should Donegal’s Michael Boyle (Honda Civic) take top points and Meath’s Gary McNamee (Honda Civic) take second place. McNamee has already missed out twice to seal the title due to non-finishes in the last two rounds. The first stage starts at 9.30am.