Topaz Donegal International Rally fires up for 41st year

The Topaz Donegal International Rally previewed its forthcoming annual event with a press conference held on a rally stage this week.

The Topaz Donegal International Rally previewed its forthcoming annual event with a press conference held on a rally stage this week.

The event was held near the home of Clerk of the Course for the event Eamonn Mc Gee from Gweedore, who will be in the hot seat (at International level) for the first time for the forthcoming event. Eamonn was very pleased with the response of the national press from both print, radio and TV who made their way up to Donegal for the Press Conference and Rally Preview on Tuesday.

As Clerk of the Course for one of the biggest events on the motor sport calendar, Eamonn stressed the importance of support from the public in obeying the marshals for the three-day event in June. Entries are still coming in for the event but the numbers would be down on previous Donegals but he said they would have full field of 140 entrants and did not think that there would any need for a reserve list for this year’s event.

Last year’s winner Tim Mc Nulty will be back to defend his title and Gary Jennings could be the one to watch this year as he will compete in the event in a World Rally car. The Mini WRC was at the Rally Preview from McGeehan Motorsport but as yet Eugene Donnelly, who drove the car on the Galway Rally, has not secured a package to compete on the Donegal Rally but the Clerk of the Course said anything could happen and something could come together for the double winner of the event.

Local Donegal drivers at the Press Conference were Adrian Mc Elhinney from Donegal Town who had a fine finish of 9th overall in his C2 Citroen and is looking forward to this year’s event and will have his wife Grainne reading the notes for the first time in Donegal.

Trevor Bustard, also from Donegal Town, was at the press conference in his locally sponsored Evo Group N. Trevor had a great year in group N finishing just outside the Top 10 on last year’s event. “We don’t realise just how beautiful Donegal is until someone from outside the county tells you”, Trevor said as he completed his high speed tour of Donegal with visiting journalists who were so impressed with the view from Trevor’s passenger’s seat at the preview.

Eamonn McCafferty from Balintra was also on hand with his Ford Puma for the rally runs for the press And finally what about PJ Bonner from Crolly who represented the majority of Donegal Rally competitors in his Focus, PJ, who runs a small garage in Crolly, prepares his car himself. A unique rear-wheel drive Ford Focus, he has very few sponsors and will foot most of the bill for the forthcoming event. He fitted a Vauxhall 2.4 litre 16 valve engine and gearbox from his old MK2 Escort and is ready for the road. He thanked Eamon Sweeney, Dunfanaghy, from Wire-to for his support for the forthcoming event.

The Rally starts on Friday the 17th June and finishes on Sunday 19th of June.

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