Belfast Telegraph

Rally star Darren looking forward to putting foot on the Gass next season after being cleared of play park crash

By John Porter

A rally driver whose career hit trouble after he was found guilty of drink-driving said a cloud had been lifted after his conviction was overturned.

Darren Gass said he had gone through "14 months of hell" after he was convicted of drink-driving and causing damage to a kids' play park in Co Monaghan.

The 25-year-old, from Markethill, Co Armagh, never denied the incident took place, but argued he could not have been driving.

During the original trial, a witness testified that he saw the champion driver get out of the right-hand side of the car and assumed Gass was driving.

However, at yesterday's appeal hearing, Gass argued he could not have been driving as it was a left-hand drive vehicle.

The former Ulster Rally winner's ban came into force just before the end of last year's championship.

Gass was allowed to complete the season and won the Irish Tarmac Championship.

However, his title was dependent on the outcome of yesterday's appeal.

He said: "I'm pleased and relieved the court has accepted it was a case of mistaken identity and my name has been cleared. This has been hanging over me for a long time – it has been 14 months of hell.

"But it is finished now and I can get on with my life, and hopefully get my rally career back on track."

Gass has appeared sporadically in this year's races, most notably in the Donegal International where he crashed out during a battle for the lead with rival Garry Jennings, who succeeded Gass as this year's Tarmac champion.

Gass is now looking forward to getting behind the wheel for next year's rallying series.

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