KELLY AIMING FOR IRISH NATIONAL AND R5 TEST JACK BENYON
NATIONAL RALLYING EDITOR “Duggan proves BRC Junior quality”
Donegal Rally winner Manus Kelly is targeting a championship next year, with the Irish National championship on his hit list.
Kelly won Donegal with Donal Barrett ahead of Keith Cronin by 0.5s on the three-day event – one of the tightest margins in the history of the rally – in his Melvyn Evansprepared Subaru Impreza S12B WRC.
Now Kelly is considering car and championship options, with a test in an R5 car likely.
“We’re thinking about doing a championship next year, leaning more towards the national at the minute,” said Kelly. “I can’t really give the Tarmac [Irish Tarmac championship] my all with my work commitments.
“We’re looking at a few possibilities, different cars, the Subaru is definitely one of the options. You won’t need any prizes for guessing that we’ll probably go for a spin in an R5 at some point.”
Kelly won the national element of the 2015 event, and only stepped into a WRC car for the first time in May for the Carlow Stages Rally. He won that event, the perfect test for Donegal which he said was a “dream come true”.
“We did well in Carlow, but even despite that experience, we didn’t expect to be on the pace as quickly as we were in Donegal,” he added. “On Friday we were on the pace straight away. Donegal is the main rally in the country. It’s every rally driver’s dream to win in Donegal. It’s the biggest rally in Ireland if not in Europe. The pace is furious.”
Kelly overturned a 10s deficit to Cronin on the final stage.
“We’d taken 18s on one stage against Cronin in Donegal, and I knew Keith wasn’t going to let us do that again. We had to take lots of chances and it paid off. Winning that event was just unreal.”