Donagh’s Irish Tarmac Rally Challenge Heads to Killarney!
April 29, 2014 by Andrew Bushe
Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan now head for the Killarney Rally of the Lakes, round three of the Clonakilty Black Pudding Irish Tarmac Rally Championship this weekend. After a third place on the opening round in Galway in February, and second on the Circuit of Ireland at Easter their Northgate Vehicle Hire supported Ford Focus WRC has been re-fettled for this classic two day event. Having completed the recce, Donagh feels an arduous event is in store. “It’s going to be at tough rally” commented the Donegal driver. “The stages are demanding, particularly the likes of Borlin, Lough Allua and Fuhiry. There is certainly a lot of driving in the stages, and it will test the cars too. Added to these there are other classics such as Ballaghbema, Caragh Lake and of course Molls Gap, so it’s certainly a big event.”
Fellow Donegal driver Declan Boyle leads the Tarmac race with two victories so far in his Subaru WRC, but another Subaru charger Garry Jennings is as yet unsure whether he will make the start ramp after a heavy final crash whilst leading the Circuit of Ireland. The championship race is really on and Donagh is mindful also of other challengers. “I think Sam Moffett too will go very well. He was on a good pace on the Circuit, and he won Monaghan in style. I believe Daragh O’Riordan now has his Fiesta mapped better and he is a former winner in Killarney. The stages too could suit the Fiesta’s. Alan Ring is always really fast here in a Group N car, and I think he has secured an S12B Subaru for this rally, so he too could be worth watching, and these drivers could all affect the point’s race. We know this event is very important to us for the series. “Last year Donagh lost second place by just half a second to Derek McGarrity, so the KN Network Services team has good experience of the superb special stages, and the Pirelli shod Focus should be well prepared for the event. “We definitely have improved out speed to be up there now, and the Circuit showed that. We can set top times, but we need to be more consistent and that’s going to be important this weekend.” It’s a busy time for Donagh with the Circuit of Ireland, Killarney recce and the rally all within two weeks, but even busier is his work schedule which at the time of writing meant that he was in Scotland. A ceremonial start in Killarney on Friday evening is followed by two hectic days of competition. The final stage is a long since used down-hill version of Molls Gap before the Sunday tea-time finish at the Gleneagle Hotel.