The hard fought 2017 Modified Championship sees the crews head to Donegal for the fourth round of the championship with leader Kevin Eves hoping to maintain his position on his home rally. Eves has been very impressive to date with maximum points in West Cork and Killarney, but faces a stiff challenge next weekend. There is a strong field assembled behind the Toyota driver that will give him a stern test with Gary Kiernan, Brian Brogan, Eugene Meegan, Damien Tourish and Frank Kelly just some of those who have the potential to score well. Second placed Eugene Meegan is ten points behind Eves and has had better luck with reliability this year and he is the only driver who could take the lead from Eves if the Donegal driver hits trouble.
John Devlin, Gary Kiernan and Vivian Hamill are almost thirty points behind and need to start scoring well. Kiernan has been particularly unfortunate as he was forced to retire in both West Cork and Killarney. Brogan and Kelly’s only appearances of the season were in West Cork and ended in mechanical failure for both while Damien Tourish was second after Galway but crashed out in Clonakilty and didn’t go to Killarney. Richard Whelan in a similar BMW 1M to Meegan hasn’t been out since Galway and may take some time to get back on the pace. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be a major battle between the top championship drivers in Donegal next weekend.
In the historic championship, a couple of strong performances in West Cork and Killarney has given Barry Jones a clear lead of almost 14 points after four rounds. Jones is top seed in Donegal and despite a lack of experience on the event it is unlikely to hamper him too much as has proved his pace on every round to date. Keith McIvor failed to finish in West Cork but was Jones closest challenger in Killarney and will be in more familiar territory here. Ernie Graham in third place will be hoping for a better run than in Killarney where he retired his new BMW M3 very early on. Other drivers who can make some serious gains with a good result include Shawn Rayner, Philip McKibbin, David Goose & Andy Johnson who has missed the last two rounds after hitting mechanical trouble in Galway. The Historic Rally begins on Saturday morning with the Garrygort stage and the historic crews will run in fourteen stages overall.
The junior championship is very competitive this season and is currently being led by Jenna McCann in her Ford Fiesta R2. She holds a three-point advantage over Justin Ryan who was runner up on last year’s series and will be hoping to go one better this year. John McCabe in third place won’t make the start so it gives Eric Calnan and Brian Moore to make up ground as both drivers have only scored on one round to date. The Junior Rally takes place on the final day over the classic tests of Fanad Head, Atlantic Drive and Glen village.