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Donegal Harvest Stages
RALLY NEWS No.1 - Pre Start - Saturday @ 08:40:52
RALLY NEWS NO.1 Jackson’s Hotel Ballybofey/Saturday am

Once again Donegal Motor Club has come up trumps, this Harvest Rally having attracted a superb entry. New Clerk of the Course Gerald Hunter has designed a tough but compact route around Ballybofey. Niall Maguire will lead the 143 strong field away from Jackson’s Hotel, Niall is hopeful of repeating his win of last year when the rally was based in Bunbeg.
When Niall finished his recce he commented “Tough stages, should be a big day’s rallying.” Maguire, as well as Seamus Leonard and Garry Jennings at 2 & 3 all drive Subaru World Rally Cars, and in theory should hold all the aces today. However so strong is the turnout of Mk2 Escorts, that it is not inconceivable that an Escort driver will be on the podium when the rally returns to Jackson’s Hotel this evening.

There is also a good representation of GpN machinery. Donagh Kelly has acquired a Lancer Evo 9 for this weekend, and he should go well. But then there are several Donegal men including Stuart Darcy and Trevor Bustard, who should be right on the pace from the word go. Danny McBride has sold his yellow Evo 8 to Stuart Darcy, and has now hired a Vauxhall engined Escort. Danny is seeded at 11, but wants to start back a bit, as he has never driven anything like it before! One crew who could be right on the pace is John and James Cairns. They drive a ‘555’ GpA Subaru, which could be just the job for today’s mixture of roads.

However, we still go back to the Mk2’s. They will provide a great deal of the action today. Camillus Bradley, Wesley Patterson, Gary McPhillips, Manus Kelly and Declan Boyle are all listed in the top ten. Any of them are capable of a big result and indeed several more as well. Declan Boyle has a chance of winning the Border series on this final round. However, because the series is class based, Declan will need a superb finish today to clinch it.

There are some changes to the entry list – Damien Gallagher was to start at 10, but can’t make it. Tom Muldoon (No.40) is also a non-starter as is Shane Maguire. John O’Donnell/Mac Walsh will run with 163 on their hired 2.4 litre Escort, and start around 10th on the road. Paul Harris is entered, with his brother Gavin co-driving, in Robbie McGurk’s GpN Impreza. However the gearbox broke last night in testing. Cyril Doherty has the No.159 on his Subaru, and he will start around 20th on the road. Other drivers who have been moved up include Stuart Darcy & Colin Flanagan.

Seeded down at 140 is Liam Branley, who got married to Samantha two days ago. Ballyshannon man Liam, who quite often helps out with marshalling, has put his honeymoon on hold so that he can drive in the rally. We wish them well!
More news later: BRIAN & LIZ PATTERSON www.rallynews.net

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