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The over enthusiastic member of the Garda Siochana as you put it x-works was well within his rights to reprimand Donnelly. On the road section between SS4 and SS5 he was pulled in on the hard shoulder beside a filling station about 3 miles from the arrival control. Approx 5 mins before his due time at the next control he proceeded to the stage weaving to and fro and driving over the speed limit on the public road in an effort to keep his tyres warm. The Guard in question stopped him and in the course of his duties delayed him which left him 4mins late at the next control therefore incurring the 15secs per minute late as per rally regulations.
In true Charlie fashion he got his side of the story in first , moaning about how a routine check and not having a driving licence on him was the cause of his lateness at the arrival control.
How come that this so called routine check involved just one competitor and that the rest of the field including Breen who was on the road before him and Maguire who incidently was parked alongside Charlie at the filling station were not subjected to the harrasment of the Guard ?????
Furthermore at the finish of the rally Breen was deemed to be the winner and of course crowned 2005 National rally champion. When Breen was been interviewed he went out of his way to compliment Donnelly on the year long battle that they had with him and emphasised the sporting nature of their battles throughout the season.
When it was the so called sportsman Donnellys turn to take the mike from Dougie he really really surpassed himself with a scathing attack on the Clare Motor Club, Motorsport Ireland , and of course the Garda Siochana. Talk about throwing the toys out of the pram !! A lot of people and competitors who witnessed this outrageous behaviour were astonished with his remarks and his ME ME ME ME attitude.
Later on that night at the prizegiving when the result had been reversed he joked and carried on his personal attack on the Guard who had stopped him earlier in the day. The behaviour that he portrayed at the prizegiving gave a simple message out to the rallying fraternity especially the Juniors and that is " lads do what ye want between road sections , rally drivers are above the law during a rally at all times " !!!!!!!!!!
At a time when Motorsport Ireland in conjunction with the Garda Siochana are trying to make rallying safe for both competitors and genuine spectators alike by taking measures to curb the boy racer element that has tainted the sport over the years what does this tell you??????
Rules are rules end of story. Does anyone remember the Rally of the Lakes 98 when MacHale who was leading from Leckey incurred road penalties which Mike Marshall enforced , and lost the rally ? And no amount of lobbying could get him to waive the penalty.
At the end of the day Charlie Donnelly got what he wanted , his way but at a price. He will never have the respect of competitors and spectators who know the real story again.
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