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Formerly m.lowe
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Taken from yesterday's Sunday Life

Motorsport: My other car's a Skoda!


By Mark McAuley

20 November 2005
THE 2005 Tarmac rally title has barely been tucked under his belt but Eugene Donnelly is already planning for the defence of the championship next year.

And it won't be in a Ford Focus or a Subaru. Not even a Citroen Xsara despite all the internet rumours.

But it could well be in a Skoda!

Yes, he is being serious, so serious in fact that engineer Derek McGeehan is heading out to the Czech Republic to talk to the Skoda motorsport department about weaknesses he has identified in the WRC Fabia.

The Donnelly team bought the Skoda back in September but it remained with Maurice Gass until the end of the season while Eugene concentrated on winning the Pirelli Tarmac title in his Toyota Corolla. A couple of planned outings in one-day events never materialised because of various niggling mechanical problems with the car.

However, it has since been stripped down by the McGeehan Motorsport team for a complete examination and, says Donnelly, Derek has identified fundamental problems with the transmission.

"Derek talked to the Skoda engineers and they were interested enough in his views to ask him to go over and see them.

"In the meantime I've been talking to the dealer network and certainly they seem interested but it is early days yet.

"If we can resolve all the issues I would be keen to run the Skoda in the Tarmac championship next year. It is a car with a lot of potential and a car I think that could win.

"But, and there is always a but, I won't do it if Derek and the team aren't convinced it is going to be reliable enough and we will get good co-operation and back up from the factory," said Donnelly.

If it doesn't work out, Donnelly will revert to his Toyotas which carried him to three wins, three second places and one third in the eight rounds of the Tarmac championship.

"We are going to do all we can to make the Skoda work," he says, "but if we aren't happy then we'll still have the Toyotas to fall back on."

The champion says he has looked at a Ford Focus but at £400,000 declared it "too rich for my liking". He also checked out an S9 Subaru but felt it wasn't the right car for him.

"Even if we decide to go with the Skoda we intend to keep the two Toyotas we have and we will hire them out during the year," he explained.

"They may be six years old but there are encouraging developments going on with the Toyota engine which could produce an extra 20-plus horse power and an eight per cent increase in torque. Add that to improvements which are in the pipeline for the suspension and the wee Corolla could be a strong contender again next year..."

Incidentally, Donnelly says it came as no surprise to him that Skoda engineers failed to change the clutch in time on Colin McRae's Fabia during last week's Rally Australia. It should have been just a routine replacement but when it went wrong, the 1995 World champion was robbed of third, and possibly second place, on the final round of the 2005 series.

"The clutch assembly on the Skoda is very similar to the Toyota and you don't change it under rally conditions unless it is absolutely necessary," he says. "I know they changed the clutch on Armin Schwarz's Skoda the previous day in 22 minutes but they got lucky.

"It is a nightmare and so many things can go wrong that it isn't worth the risk. I don't know why they tried it especially with just two stages to go and as far as I understand Colin wasn't even complaining of any clutch problems."
 

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matt mitchell
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Originally posted by m.lowe
Taken from yesterday's Sunday Life
By Mark McAuley
20 November 2005
And it won't be in a Ford Focus or a Subaru. Not even a Citroen Xsara despite all the internet rumours.
your famous ruby:laugh::laugh:
 

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Infamous even.................but Ruby is a Breen Baby now isnt he?:p

A touch of class that an Irish amatuer team (no disrespect but Mc Geehans arent a factory team) that they can pick up points of weakness on a Skoda.

Maybe Donnelly will make it fast and reliable?
 

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Formerly gee
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derek and the lads can run them toyotas as good as the works team IMO and how are they amateur? they are a professional company dedicated to running cars and prepping them like harper, mcneill, mikinstry etc in ireland
 

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Darren O'Mahony
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In fairness, I think you must know what he means. They're an amateur team in the sense that they're not affiliated with any works team. And it does seem to be some feat that they've apparently found a weakness in a factory car - fair f*cks!
 

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Thats what I mean exactly- was I not clear?

Mc Geehans are an excellent bunch of lads but none of them have worked for Skoda or Toyota, they are self trained which makes them amateurs, but this in no way makes it none the less impressive in the job they do. They know what they are at and put some dedication into Eugene Donnelly.
 

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Breen Baby-I am a fan of The Breen Machine and the Genie-you wait till Galway-The McGeehans are not the only ones with a Fabia in the workshop-I have one on my worktop-found a few weaknesses myself too.
 

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If any team can make the Skoda good it will be the Mc Geehan lads...the work Eugene, Paul and Mc Geehans have done on the Corolla is fantastic so now they need to continue with the Skoda and make it fly........
 

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You must have a big worktop Ruby....lol...only joking
 

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hope he sticks corolla
 

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I reckon he will make it work for Galway and if not a quick switch to the Corolla for Easter. Hope it is still in Kingspan livery.
 
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