Five times Irish Tarmac Rally Champion- Eugene Donnelly will make a long awaited return to the Donegal stages, with a Lakeland Tyres backed Mini WRC.
It was in 2009 that the Maghera driver last competed on the Donegal International, and his co-driver from that Tarmac title winning season- Paddy Toner will once again join him.
Not surprisingly McGeehan Motorsport, who helped Eugene to those Tarmac titles and three Donegal International victories in 2004, 2005 and 2008 will be running the 1600cc Mini WRC on this tough three day event.
“I really wanted to do Donegal” said Eugene. “It’s been quite a few years since I’ve competed on it, and this year’s entry is shaping up magnificently. I haven’t done any rallying in about eighteen months. I’ve no high expectations, no big testing or anything planned before the rally- I just want to get out there.”
With additional support from Sligo Pallets, Pro-Tune re-mapping and Rally Cover insurance, it will enable “the Genie” to have a go.
“We got a great deal on the insurance cover and that gives me piece of mind starting the rally, but I expect a lot of people will be going very quickly. You have Garry Jennings, Donagh Kelly and Declan Boyle in WRC’s and I think it could be Declan’s year. Then there is Manus Kelly who has took to an S12 Subaru and the R5 runners such as Alastair Fisher the Moffett brothers and Keith Cronin. A top ten place at the end could even be a real challenge!”
Lakeland Tyres Managing Director Adrian Frazer’s on-going support for motorsport continues in 2016.
“The Circuit of Ireland with Craig Breen was brilliant, but it will be good to see Eugene out again in Donegal. Donegal always has a special magic.”
Lakeland Tyres has long been established in Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh with its four year old Enniskillen branch currently undergoing a re-vamp.
Like motorsport itself the company has been moving forwards fast with two depots now established in Mallusk near Belfast, and Carn Industrial Estate in Portadown.
It will be interesting to see if Lakeland Tyres- Group Manager – Eugene can re-group after his short lay-off and still match the pace of the latest hot-shoes, in a car which is slightly behind in the technology race.
Shades of the Corolla days perhaps?
There is one thing for sure. Donegal on June 17th-19th is going to give all the answers.
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