Manus Kelly hold the overnight lead after a drama-filled opening day of the 2018 Joule Donegal International Rally.
Back-to-back Donegal winner Kelly, with Donall Barrett on the notes, leads by 9.3 seconds from Declan Boyle. B
The lead changed four times during today’s six stages and it’s the defending champions Kelly and co-driver Donall Barrett who lead the way in the Melvyn Evans Impreza from the WRC Fiesta of Declan Boyle and James O’Reilly.
Donagh Kelly, one of the leading contenders, is out of contention after crashing out on Special Stage 3, Letterleague.
At the notorious Woods’ corner on the stage, with the surface very mucky, Donagh Kelly’s Focus left the road and his bid for Donegal had again ended in unfortunate circumstances. After a good start to the year, he and Conor Foley – who’d led after the second stage – wee gone as the Frosses man’s bid to win his home event came to a halt.
At the close of business today, Boyle was 21.2 seconds adrift, but he had his time adjusted as he was slowed significantly at Donagh Kelly’s accident.
Manus Kelly and Barrett were fastest on four of today’s six stages, but even they weren’t without their drama.
On SS2, Cark, the Impreza spun and they lost around 20 seconds, having been fasted by around seven seconds over SS1, Breenagh.
Jennings and Kennedy held sway at the first service of the day. On Kumno tyres in the drenching conditions, Jennings was the picture of cool as he came off Breenagh the second time around, with an 11-second lead.
But Jennings and Kennedy lost nearly 30 seconds when the front passenger’s wheel punctured on Cark and Kelly, who set the fastest time on the stage, was back at the head of the pack.
Jennings and Kennedy are third overnight, 22.7 second behind the leaders.
Darren Gass had been well in touch, but a big overshoot on SS6, Letterleague, put him back by 20 seconds and he’s 27.4 seconds adrift of Kelly in another Impreza.
In the National rally, Damien Tourish and Domhnall McAlaney have a wafer-thin overnight lead.
In the Mk2 Escort, Tourish and McAlaney have only 0.3 seconds to spare on the Darrian of Ian Barrett and Paul McGee, but another Darrian, that of Kevin Gallagher and Noel O’Sullivan are 40 seconds behind ahead of Gallagher’s favoured stages in the morning.Tags: