The 2017 Joule Donegal International Rally team have revealed this year’s entry list, which is overflowing with quantity and quality. The rally has attracted an entry of 180+ for the main field, while the historic and junior field are also running at full capacity. The only downside to this, is that organisers must include a reserve field in the main field as only 150 entries are permitted to start. The official launch of the Joule Donegal International Rally takes place on Friday, 2nd June at the County Council Offices starting at 7.30pm and everyone is welcome on the night.
With 11 World Cars in the line-up, the cream of Irish WRC’s will once again do battle with some of the best stages in Ireland. The bar has been set even higher this year, with names like Manus Kelly, Garry Jennings, Declan Boyle and Donagh Kelly to name just a few.
The main Clonakilty Blackpudding Championship is contested by R5 cars and is represented by 5 major manufacturers Ford, Hyundai, Skoda, Peugeot and Citroen. Keith Cronin in Citroen R5 came within 0.5secs of taking the overall win last year and it’s entirely possible that the overall winner may come from the likes of Sam Moffett, Alastair Fisher, Robert Barrable or Josh Moffett. Eleven crews will take to the start, so undoubtedly there are others who will have a say in the outcome.
In the modified field, almost 60 crews have entered in classes 13 and 14 alone, with the best Irish modified drivers wanting to be involved in the action. Names like McPhillips, Pringle, Gallagher, Kiernan or Hethrington don’t even need a first name for the rally fans that will be lining the roads of Donegal over rally weekend. The MKII Escort is still the car of choice by the vast majority of crews but interspersed are Darrians, Toyotas, BMWs, Honda, and Vauxhalls – all driven by crews who will be ensuring they have their say on where the silverware ends up at prizegiving on Sunday evening!
This year, the historic class has 20 entries including Ernie Graham and Ian Davies in BMW M3s, bringing back memories of the battles between Bertie Fisher and Austin McHale. Rally fans will also be keeping an eye out for Welsh visitors Dave Pritchard and Emyr Hall who made their first visit last year and are returning in 2017 with an even larger supporters’ club.
The Juniors have entries from every corner of Ireland; Jenna McCann leads the Clonakilty Blackpudding Junior championship but the young lady from Cavan will have a battle on her hands to take the laurels in Donegal. Drivers such as Eric Calnan, Jonny Treanor and Kevin McLaughlin will be going all-out to claim victory. Once again, the third weekend in June is shaping up to be another Donegal classic in the world of motorsport.