Manus Kelly says it’ll be ‘more of the same’ tomorrow with a hectic eight-stage Saturday on day two of the 2018 Joule Donegal International Rally.
The Glenswilly man, with trusted companion Donall Barrett on the notes, has won back-to-back Donegal Rallies and leads the way overnight after day one.
Picture: Manus Kelly in action on the 2018 Donegal International Rally. Picture by Brian McDaid.
Kelly and Barrett have 9.3 seconds to spare on Declan Boyle and James O’Reilly after the opening six stages.
The lead had been 21.2 seconds officially as the crews headed for Parc Ferme, but Boyle was halted at an accident that ended Donagh Kelly’s participation and, as a result, had his time adjusted.
For Kelly and Barrett, leading the way is new territory, and they overcame a spin on SS2, Cark, to lead the way.
“The day went well for us,” Kelly said this evening.
“We had that spin, but overall it went well. We’re in the one piece and the car’s in the one piece.
“We are very lucky and fortunate to be here.
“You get millisecond here and there but it only takes the smallest thing and you can come cropper or go out of the event.”
Kelly and Barrett were fastest by 7.7 seconds after Friday’s first stage, Breenagh, but the lead changes hands four times over the course of the day.
On the spin over Cark, Kelly said: “We were very lucky. It was shiny tar and we took too much speed into it. The nose was going for the moss and I pulled the handbrake at the last minute. The car died out and was just sitting on the corner, but we got away again.”
Two runs over Carnhill and Knockalla early tomorrow are followed by two circuits of Trentagh and Gartan in the afternoon.
With little between Kelly, Boyle, Garry Jennings and Darren Gass, it promises to be an epic day of action.
Kelly said: “We just focussed on the performance and getting the performance right. Donegal is the toughest rally in the country.
“You have so many men battling for a millisecond here and a corner there. It will be the same tomorrow: We’ll go out to try and get a performance on every stage again and if we get that we’ll be happy. We’ll go tomorrow and try to get more of the same to stay in front.”