KELLY AIM­ING FOR IRISH NA­TIONAL AND R5 TEST JACK BENYON

NA­TIONAL RAL­LY­ING ED­I­TOR “Dug­gan proves BRC Ju­nior qual­ity”

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - Sligo Stages re­port, p31

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.”

Kelly took bril­liant Done­gal vic­tory

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