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Donegal International Rally
RALLY NEWS No.16 - Finish - Sunday @ 17:18:23
RALLY NEWS NO.16 Finish/Letterkenny/Sunday

1st (8) Sam Moffett/James O`Reilly (Impreza WRC)
2nd (6) Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan (Focus WRC)
3rd (1) Garry Jennings/Neil Doherty (Impreza WRC)
4th (7) Seamus Leonard/Paul McLaughlin (Impreza WRC)
5th (4) Darragh O`Riordan/Tony McDaid (Fiesta WRC)
6th (12) John O`Donnell/Aidan Friel (Impreza WRC)
Group N winners and 7th o/a Stephen & Suzanne Wright (Lancer)

1st (17) Gary McPhillips/Paul Sheridan (Escort)
2nd (19) Frank Kelly/Stephen Quinn (Escort)
3rd (21) Damien Gallagher/Mac Walsh (Escort)
4th (34) Adrian Hetherington/Gary Nolan (Escort)
5th (42) Daniel Conaghan/Terence Magee (Escort)
6th (44) Paul & Karl Reid (Escort)

For rally winners Sam Moffett and James O`Reilly this has probably been the biggest day of their lives, both in rallying and in general. When Sam brought his McKinstry Motorsport Impreza S14 to the finish of the classic Fanad Head special stage, the final test of 20, Sam said. `This is fantastic to have won. So many top drivers have won here and to be part of it is special. I am very happy. My co-driver James never missed a note all weekend and we had great banter`. For Donegal man Donagh Kelly it was a great result also and Donagh said. `I had one bad stage today otherwise it was good. The car was brilliant. There were a few technical problems but we will sort it out.`

Having led the rally for 2 days and then to be knocked back to 5th was quite a blow for last year`s winner Garry Jennings, but he picked himself up over the last few stages. He set a fastest time through Fanad and aided by the retirement of Derek McGarrity, Garry has come into 3rd place. He said. `We will just take the penalty on the chin and come back next year.` Compensation for Garry is that he maintains his lead in the Tarmac Championship. The provisional points show Garry on 41 with Donagh Kelly and Sam Moffett tying for 2nd place on 37.5. For every up there is a down and for Derek McGarrity it was a real down as he was heading for a splendid 2nd place here until his engine blew up almost within sight of the finish line of the last stage. Derek felt it misfiring in the stage. He switched off the anti lag but then the engine just seized. He would probably have moved into the lead of the Tarmac Championship if he had made the finish in 2nd place.

There was a last minute drama on the National Rally as well as Manus Kelly was fighting for the lead, swapping seconds on every stage with Gary McPhillips, but then Manus overdid it on the final stage and, we understand, put his car in a ditch. This left Gary McPhillips and his co driver Paul Sheridan with a very clear win over Frank Kelly/Stephen Quinn. Gary said. `I finished 2nd here twice before so I am delighted to have won it. I am just annoyed for Manus Kelly. We were having a great battle`.

Seamus Heron has come into 2nd in Group N: Shane Maguire 3rd. Donagh Kelly may be the highest placed driver from Donegal but the best all Donegal crew is John O`Donnell/Aidan Friel in their 6th place Subaru. Wesley Patterson has won the Historic category from Seamus O`Connell with Donal Connolly 3rd, all in Escorts. Kevin McLaughlin (Civic) was leading the Junior category with 1 stage to go.

Finally for now we would like to thank everyone who helped and supported our RallyNews service. Once again Donegal Mc under the direction of Clerk of the Course Eamonn McGee have laid on a fantastic rally. It has been a huge undertaking, one of the biggest sporting events in the country, and all concerned deserve full congratulations.

Reminder: Big sale of Donegal Rally merchandise beside the ramp from C&M Embroidery.

BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON (with thanks to Michael & Zoe Patterson and Dougie Hughes) www.rallynews.net *Follow RallyNews on Twitter @Pacenotes or @Real_RallyNews

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