Manus Kelly has described as ‘the stuff of dreams’ his winning of a third Donegal International Rally.
Kelly and Donall Barrett led the charge to a win that puts them firmly now among the greats of this event, regarded as the jewel in the Irish Tarmac Rally calendar.
Picture: Manus Kelly and Donall Barrett celebrate. Picture by Brian McDaid.
Having won the National Rally in a Mk2 Escort in 2015, the Glenswilly-Milford pairing stepped into the Melvyn Evans-hired WRC Impreza for the first time in 2016 – and haven’t looked back.
On a weekend that saw the Rally of Donagh Kelly, Darren Gass, Declan Boyle and Garry Jennings all come to abrupt ends, Kelly and Barrett stayed out in front and retained their title thanks to a controlled and focussed display over the final six stages.
“It’s unreal,” Kelly said.
“This is the stuff of dreams. Never in my wildest dreams did we ever thin wed get it three times in a row. It’s a great day for all of the team.
“We came in with a plan. We had to rearrange the plan and tactics on Saturday. It was about defending what we had and managing the car after that.
“We’re immensely proud.”
Co-driver Barrett hailed the performance of the man at the wheel.
He said: “Manus drove very well. He kept a good pace, nice and steady.
“That’s a testament to where Manus has gone as a driver.”