Donagh Kelly and Kevin Flanagan are focusing their preparations for the Circuit of Ireland Rally this weekend, with their Northgate Vehicle Hire supported Ford Focus WRC.
The team have begun their Clonakilty Black Pudding Irish Tarmac Rally Championship campaign, with third place on the Galway International Rally in February, and “The Circuit” is the second round of this most prestigious rally series in Ireland. Indeed it’s a special Circuit, with the best in the European Championship heading the field, with the Tarmac Championship stars next up, tackling the same eighteen stages, and it all starts at the Titanic Quarter in Belfast on Good Friday.
This is no easy rally as Donagh and Kevin found out at the weekend when they made their pace-notes on the recce. “It’s a long rally” comments Donagh. “On day one there are five stages with no service, and on the day two there is a loop of three tests, which includes an 18 miler! The stages are a real mixture of fast flowing bits, and then tighter, slower sections. They are good stages, but definitely will be tricky if it was to rain, and we have to keep an eye on the mud and gravel pulled out by the ERC guys ahead of us. It’s also a matter of keeping your concentration and rhythm going continually especially on that long 18 mile test.”
Certainly this could be the toughest test of the season, and the line-up includes Galway winner Declan Boyle, reigning Irish Tarmac Champion Garry Jennings, and five times champion Eugene Donnelly, who non-scored in Galway. “There is no doubt that you can’t afford to play the waiting game these days. Declan, Garry, Eugene and the rest will be on a good pace from the start. Hopefully we can apply the pace we were on in West Cork on this event, and if we could do that we should be closer at least.”
Donagh has conducted a short test in the VSM run Ford Focus WRC, and all is well, as the Pirelli shod car lines up at number three in the National event, in what promises to be one the most exciting Circuit of Ireland rallies in recent memory.
Issued by Andrew Bushe Promotions- www.andrewbushe.com
Picture- Please credit www.kgrallypics.com