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TREBLE TOP FOR DONNELLY MOTORSPORT TEAM

Victory on Rally Ireland, by Eugene Donnelly and Paul Kiely has made a unique treble for the Donnelly Motorsport team. With Eugene also victorious in Galway on the opening round of Ireland’s top rally series, the Irish Tarmac, and brother Charlie scoring victory in Mayo to lead the Irish National series, the Maghera men hold the top positions in Irish rallying at the moment. It’s an entirely unique situation.

RALLY IRELAND

Rally Ireland is Ireland’s qualifying event for the WRC, and a rally Eugene was keen to support. “I think that it would be fantastic to see the WRC in Ireland, we have such great stages, organisation and enthusiasm for it here.” Originally entered in a Skoda Fabia WRC, this was changed to the familiar Corolla after a parts supply problem. “Despite the little difficulties at times, we really haven’t ruled out the Skoda for competitions at a later date. It is something I’m keen to develop. We ran the Corolla at the weekend with last years engine as the new unit that we had used in Galway was on it’s way back having been checked by the scrutineers, so we were a little down on power than Galway.” Eugene was also well down on time on stage one, almost forty seconds off leader Gareth MacHale in the Focus WRC. “I hadn’t accounted for the bumps during the recce. I found the two pass rule a little different to adapt to and I hadn’t allowed this in the set up of the car. It was all over the place!”

Quickly though the Esker Corolla stormed up the timesheets. Fastest on stage 2, and stage 4 it was into service in Enniskillen now 38 seconds off the lead. “We tried a new cut in the Kumho tyre for the next stages, as it was getting wet and it worked brilliantly. I was much happier with the set up as well.” That was an understatement, it worked superbly, the team visibly faster, a staggering 20 seconds faster than Gareth in fact on stage 5 saw the gap down to 18 seconds. Then with the pressure on Gareth stalled on the start line of the next test losing almost 20 seconds, Eugene responding with a superb time a further 13 seconds faster.

Thus the K.V.C Corolla arrived back at the overnight halt with a 13.4 second lead. “On the first stage on day two we took it relatively easy. I can be a slow starter at times and we were aware of all the muck in the middle of the test. Gareth took time off us, but I’m being truthful in saying that I wasn’t surprised, or that annoyed as we had hardly marked the tyres.” On the second morning stage however Gareth MacHale’s rally ended in a ditch, and Eugene with two minutes in hand over Eamon Boland was able to drive to victory reeling off the remaining stages before the huge crowds at the Sligo finish ramp. “It was a fantastic feeling to win Rally Ireland. It was particularly good for my co driver Paul Kiely, who comes from Sligo, as we have tried to win the Sligo National Rally a couple of times but never did it. It was such a challenging rally and I hardly remember driving on such challenging stages. It’s a full credit to the organisers the way the rally ran, and I think Rally Ireland really deserves to be in the WRC next year.”



Wexford’s Eamon Boland was second in his Focus WRC with World Rally Championship regular, Swede, Daniel Carlsson third in his latest works Mitsubishi Lancer. After the rally Daniel was quick to praise both the rally and Eugene’s performance in the relatively outdated Toyota Corolla WRC. The next event on Eugene’s calendar is the Circuit of Ireland on April 15th and 16th, round two of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.


CHARLIE’S MAYO

For brother Charlie with co-driver Paddy Toner the Mayo Stages Rally was an event of fire and ice! The ice was present on the first stage, not an easy start for any rally driver. The Meteor Corolla shot off like a rocket on the ice, glancing a wall and bank. And the ice caused fire!, as the bank had dislodged the exhaust, which in turn burnt the dipstick holder, which let oil run onto the hot engine, and also the flames from the leaking exhaust set the wiring on fire after stage four. “That’s what rallying’s all about, a challenge, and things often are testing” explains Charlie. Despite all this Charlie was in sight of Ray Breen who was to crash on stage three, leaving Charlie to take a momentous victory, despite a few moments whilst running totally unsuitable slick tyres on wet roads on stages 5 and 6. Charlie is chasing his first Irish National Championship title having finished second on his last real attempt in 1997 in an Opel Manta 400. “As my co driver Paddy Toner said. Last year we lost rallies over simple things, but maybe this is our year as we still won despite all the simple things going against us.” Round 2 of the Irish National Championship is the Circuit of Kerry on March 2nd. “It’s an event that I don’t have a lot of experience of, Eugene has done more rallying down there, but I’m very much looking forward to it.”

The Donnelly brothers hope to hold onto this unique position of leading the two premier Irish rally championships in identical Toyota Corolla WRC’s, both prepared with pride by Draperstown’s, McGeehan Motorsport. “It would be great if we could keep this record up, not just on the championship front but on each rally itself! We will have fun trying anyway.”” commented Charlie. Eugene remarks. “It’s such a huge effort from everyone in the team, and of course the sponsors who we are so grateful for their support. And that goes to everyone who has joined the supporters club as well, it all helps our rallying efforts.”
 

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Given that Ray Breen went off the road and was well ahead of Charlie at the time-its not that spectacular. Eugene was spectacular in galway and Rally Ireland was an excellent result
 

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the same way eugene humiliates DMG?Since eugene has had the toyota DMG has had 7 different cars and never beat eugene in a straight fight.
 

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Poor Charlie-

Must have been a disapointment to not be doin the championship since 1997
 

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:p:p:p:p.

Who was that driving the corolla last year then-some Yank I seem to recall

[Edited on 16-3-2006 by rubywax]
 

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Redmond or Breen to win Kerry- Charlie had his luck and took the win well- but reading the final rallynews you would swear he had the worst rally ever in life
 

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Darren O'Mahony
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Since when has Redmond been a dominant force? In fairness to Charlie Donnelly, he's a great driver. And you should also remember that Eugene has been quoted as saying that he thinks Charlie is the better driver of the two. I know they're siblings and all that craic, but still.........
 

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There's only one quick Donnelly, and that's Eugene!! Charlie is as good as the man in front or behind of him, Eugene is simply a genius behind the wheel
 

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In fairness last year Charlie was visibly quick -I was out on 5 of the national rounds and the wee corolla was flying-he just ran out of road on too many occasions. I think Breen will win in Kerry, don't know if Harrison will be over this year or not and Barrable could also upset things a bit in his new Focus
 

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Originally posted by rubywax
-he just ran out of road on too many occasions.
Did he not only crash in Kerry? and was just best of the rest other than that?

But then if it wasnt a serious attempt at the championship then thats understandable.

[Edited on 17-3-2006 by Tropsrotom]
 

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Darren O'Mahony
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Nah nah;he was sh1te. The two of yourselves were there to give pointers as to what was going wrong, but it turned out in the end you were both actually waNKers, which is an awful pity really, because I feel you both have so much to offer.
 

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both drivers are always on the limit.

I sometimes wonder about how much of a show they put on - is it great driving skill or seat of their pants stuff. I have known Charlie a long while, and although he has great skill, I think a lot of it is "we'll give it a go and see" - he is not scared to drive outside his safe limits.

It is the same with Eugene - flat out and hope we don't have a big one. That is the only reason their wee cars, as they describe them, as still at the top of the time sheets.

On the other hand, drviers with 1/2 million quid cars do drive within their limits, as they are scared of damaging them. That is why they are boring, why there is a down turn in spectator crowds, and why sponsors are getting slightly tighter with their sponsorship deals.

In my view, Irish rallying needs to reign in the technology limits a bit. Otherwise we will have the best machinery in the world, but the worst championships. Why?

Less action & spectacle = less spectators = less viewers on the stages and in the media = wasted money for sponsors = demise of irish rallying

We are on the crest of a wave at the moment, but if action is not taken very soon, rallying will be all washed up. FACT
 

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I have made the same point in the past about the Corolla-bending a £150K car is less of a worry than bending a £500K car so they can afford to take a few more risks. But then its stupid to spend that kind of money if you are not going out there to enjoy it. Nesbitt seems to throw caution to the wind in the old Subaru but in the new one-not the same

[Edited on 18-3-2006 by rubywax]
 
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