Belfast Telegraph

Daniel McKenna joins starters for Monte Carlo Rally

By Sammy Hamill

Daniel McKenna said he wanted to move onwards and upwards after winning this year's British Rally Championship. And he is doing just that by tackling the iconic Monte Carlo Rally.

McKenna is one of four Irish drivers in the line-up for the opening round of the World Championship, joining Kris Meeke, Craig Breen and Eamonn Boland in the January 22 starting list.

McKenna will drive a Citroen DS3, prepared by the Carryduff-based DGM team, in the WRC3 division.

Meeke, of course, is part of the Abu Dhabi Citroen team which this time includes nine-times world champion Sebastien Loeb, and is seeded at three. Breen, who heads the entry list for the opening round of the European Championship, the Janner Rally next week, is at 34 in an R5 Peugeot in the WRC2 category, with McKenna at 54 and former Irish Tarmac champion Boland at 76 in his production Subaru.

Reigning world champion and last year's Monte winner Sebastien Ogier heads the 100-plus list of starters.

Meanwhile, Donagh Kelly turned the tables on Derek McGeehan to win the Turkey Run Rally at the former Shackleton military base at Ballykelly.

A year ago it was McGeehan who took the victory in his WRC Mini, edging out the Ford Focus of Kelly. But on Monday it was Donegal driver Kelly who came out on top, finishing 19 seconds ahead after another close duel in frosty, slippery conditions.

Former Irish Tarmac champion Garry Jennings in his Subaru was a late addition to the 90-strong field but he couldn't match the front two and finished back in third with Alan McGeehan fourth in his Toyota Corolla.

Martin Doherty won the Group N category in fifth place in his Mitsubishi with Pauric Duffy in sixth place in his R5 Ford Fiesta.

Fifteen-year-old Josh McErlean won the Junior 1000 Challenge division in his little Peugeot ahead of the Nissan Micra of Philip White.

Young Driver of the Year William Creighton was the early leader but then retired.

Josh was second fastest on the first proper stage, and took over the lead when Creighton retired. Fastest times on stages three and five meant that he took a superb nine second victory.

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