Donegal has another Dunlop Rally champion after Ardara driver Declan Gallagher claimed the Dunlop National Modified championship.
Gallagher and his co-driver Ryan Moore, from Letterkenny, clinched the title on Sunday last, at the Fastnett Rally in Bantry. The Gallagher/Moore combination took the title after finishing fourth in their Toyota Starlet in Cork.
“It is nice to win it at the end of a long hard season and all the traipsing up and down the country has been worth it,” said Declan, who was a class winner in six of the eight rallies he competed in.
“We won in Birr, Monaghan, the Stonethrowers in Tipperary, the Galway Summer Rally and Ravens Rock in Waterford. The season went very well for us and out of the eight rallies we had only two non finishes.”
Declan finished the season on 60 points, 18 ahead of his nearest challenge,r Jonathan Pringle from Cavan, who finshed the year on 42 points. Pringle, who won the MK11 Escort Championship, was well ahead of third placed Paddy McKieran from Monaghan.
“It was nip and tuck all year between myself and Jonathan and it went all the way down to the weekend in Cork. We had a nine point leading going to Cork and we had to come at least fourth if we were to stay ahead of Jonathan.
“Unfortunately for him he crashed out on Sunday and after that we couldn’t be caught and had the championship won.
“It is a great feeling and something I dreamed of since I started rallying over ten years ago and to be honest is something I will cherish for years to come.”
Declan started out rallying in 2003, first as a navigator before taking up driving in 2008. He also stressed that the success was down to a good team, from his navigator Ryan Moore, his mechanics and back-up crew and his many sponsors who backed him through thick and thin in the last few years.