Donagh Kelly did not start due to mechanical problems
Donagh Kelly and Conor Foley, the number two seeds are sensationally out of the Joule Donegal International Rally.
The Donegal driver is out after sensationally suffering mechanical problems before special stage one and were not able to start the rally.
It is a cruel blow for Kelly, who is one of the leading contenders and big favourite with local rally followers.
Meanwhile, another leading Donegal crew and former winners Declan and Brian Boyle are the early leaders of the Joule Donegal International Rally.
The Rosses crew of the Boyle cousins in a Fiesta WRC car lead the rally after the first three stages.
They hold a 0.9 of a second lead over the favourite Craig Breen and Paul Nagle, also in a Ford Fiesta WRC.
Derry man Calum Devine with Brian Hoy calling the notes in Fiesta R5 are in third place after the opening three stages with Sam Mofett and James Fulton also in a Fiesta WRC back in fourth position.
The Fermanagh/Donegal combination of Garry Jennings and Rory Kennedy, in the first of the Subaru's complete the top five.
Manus Kelly and Donall Barrett in a Hyundai i20 R5, chasing a fourth win in a row, is back in eight place while Joseph McGonigle and Ciaran Geaney, in a Fiesta WRC are in tenth place