Motorsport Ireland Weekend Round-up 21/22 June
Jennings & Kennedy Take Donegal Crown – McMullan Dominate Brands Hatch
Fermanagh driver Garry Jennings and Donegal co-driver Rory Kennedy swept to a commanding win on Ireland’s premier rally event, the Joule Donegal International Rally. Jennings spent most of the opening day of the event embroiled in a battle with current Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Rally Championship leader, Donagh Kelly. Kelly however, was to hit bother on day 2, clipping a bank on stage 7 and suffering a puncture on stage 10 and eventually finished 3rd overall in his Ford Focus World Rally Car. Declan and Brian Boyle had a fantastic run to take 2nd overall in their brand new Ford Fiesta World Rally Car. Boyle adapted to left hand drive as the event progressed and he is confident that there is much more to come from the car. Jennings, who made a number of inspired tire choices in changing conditions, pulled away from the pack on Saturday and Sunday eventually reaching the finish ramp in Letterkenny with a winning margin of 1 minute 7.1 seconds. Speaking after the event an emotional Jennings said; “It’s such a special rally, we worked so hard for this and put in so much preparation. I’m delighted, not only for myself but for Rory and the whole team.”
Joseph McGonigle put in a strong performance in his Skoda Fabia S2000 to finish 7th overall and was delighted to win class 5. McGonigle was the first non World Rally Car home. Behind McGonigle, Martin Doherty finished 8th and won the production category in his Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9. The top 10 was rounded out by Pauric Duffy in 9th and Richard Tannahill in 10th in his Peugeot 208 R2. In the hotly contested national rally, local crew Manus Kelly and Donall Barrett took a popular win in his Mark 2 Ford Escort. The national rally saw a number of high profile retirements with Declan Gallagher, Gary McPhillips, Brian Brogan and Adrian Hetherington all retiring on the challenging 3 day event. Frank Kelly and Liam Brennan took the runners up spot in the national event with siblings Paul and Karl Reid taking the final spot on the podium making it and Ford Escort 1-2-3. Dungiven driver Seamus O’Connell repeated his 2014 performance by winning the historic category in his BDA engined Mark 2 Ford Escort. O’Connell’s cushion over 2nd placed John Moynihan was just over 3 minutes while the father and son team of Ernie and Will Graham took 3rd in the category. Meanwhile, in the junior section, the Ford Fiesta pair of Robert Duggan and Ger Conway made their long trip from Killarney worthwhile by taking a 1 minute 1 second win from Patrick O’Brien and Thomas Nugent.
Current Dunlop Motorsport Ireland Young Racing Driver of the Year Jonny McMullan resumed his BRSCC National Formula Ford 1600 Championship challenge at Brands Hatch this weekend. McMullan looked fully in control behind the wheel of his Dunlop, Irish Sports Council and Motorsport Ireland supported Van Diemen Formula Ford to take two wins on the day with the bonus of also securing the fastest lap of the race.