Three in a row winners Manus Kelly and Donall Barrett at the finishing ramp
It was a dream come true for Manus Kelly and Donall Barrett when they claimed a third Joule Donegal International Rally this afternoon.
They had 42.4 seconds to spare over the second placed Sam Moffett and Karl Atkinson, in Fiesta R5, with Sam’s brother Josh Moffett and Andy Hynes, also in a Fiesta R5, in third place.
The Kelly/Barrett combination are only the third crew in the history of the rally to win three in-a-row. They are the first all Donegal crew to complete the feat.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Manus at the finishing ramp outside the Mount Errigal Hotel.
“It is hard to believe that we have won it for three years in-a-row. The first was special but to win it three years in-a-row is incredible and is a long way from when we won the first in 2016.”
The winners led the rally from SS5 on Friday evening and as the other contenders fell by the wayside they held their nerve to go on and win the event.
In fact this was Manus and Donall’s fourth year in-a-row in a podium position. They also won the Donegal National Rally in 2015, in a Mark 2 Escort.
Cathal Curley, 1972, ‘73 and ‘74 - the first three years of the Donegal Rally - and Billy Coleman 1984,’85, ‘86 were the other treble winners.
Rally sponsor Ian Barrett with Donegal man Paul McGee calling the notes in a Darrian T90 GTR won the Donegal National Rally.
Barrett and McGee finished 0.27.3 seconds ahead of the local crew of Kevin Gallagher and Donal Sullivan from Ramelton, also in a Darrian T90 GTR.
The class winners were Class 2 - Stephen Carey and Nicole Roycroft in a Fiesta; Class 3 Christopher Boyce and Pascal Dillon in a Honda Civic; Class 4 Aidan Wray and Kieran McGrath in a Mitsubishi EVO 10; Class 5 Sam Moffett and Karl Atkinson in a Fiesta R5; Class 9 Conor Harvey and Timmy Lunn in a Corsa; Class 10 Eamon McLaughlin and Steven Boyle in a Vauxhall Nova; Class 11F Kevin McLaughlin and Danny McLaughlin in a Honda Civic; Class 11 R Sean Heraghty and Gary Lockhart in a Toyota Corolla; Class 12 James Cassidy and Jane Collins, Escort MK2; Class 13 Johnny Jordan and Gary McNern, Toyota Starlet RWD; Class 15 Jim McDowall and Charlotte McDowall, Subaru; Class 20 Michael Carbin and Conor Mohan, Mitsubishi EVO 4; Class 22 Ashley Dickson and Graham Henderson, Mitsubishi Evo 9.