JENNINGS HOPING TO JOIN ELITE CLUB IN GALWAY
WRC driver could become fourth man to successfully defend rally victory
Garry Jennings will aim to become only the fourth driver in the history of the Galway International Rally to win the event for two years in a row after breaking his duck on the 2016 rally aboard his Subaru Impreza S12B WRC.
Jennings’ maiden victory on the Galway International followed several previous failed attempts, with last year’s result coming against one of the strongest fields assembled in recent times. He will face equally stiff opposition this weekend with Declan Boyle among the other leading World Rally Car entries, while those in R5 machinery – such as Moffett brothers Sam and Josh and Alastair Fisher – are vowing to push hard.
“I don’t expect to be too far away but Galway is a very tricky rally, you need a lot of luck down there,” said Jennings.
“I was delighted to win last year and finally get the monkey off my back.
“No matter who has entered you can be guaranteed a tough battle; none of the top 10 crews hang about, it’s all hell for leather.
“Any international win is special but if I was to join a group like that with back-to-back wins it would, of course, be extra special.” Jennings could join Mark Lovell (1988-’89), Austin Machale (1990-’91) and 1997-’98) and Eugene Donnelly (2005-’06) have all achieved the feat previously.
A total of 15 special stages make up the route for this year’s event, which will be based in the Athenry area on Saturday before switching to nearby Tuam on Sunday.
Clerk of the course Kieran Donohue said preparations are well advanced despite being hampered by the recent impasse over the public liability insurance issue, which has since been resolved by Motorsport Ireland.
“We had to hold out until the insurance issue was sorted,” said Donohue. “That has placed the entire organising team under a huge amount of unfair pressure as we have tried to put everything together.
“Having said that, our plans are coming along well; it promises to be another very exciting Galway Rally.
“We have been in the same area for the last few years, so I wanted to change the stages up to give the competitors something of a new challenge. Some of the stages have not been used in around 16 years.”
Jennings broke poor run in Galway with 2016 victory Machale: Second win in ’91