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Donagh Kelly eyes the future with a shot at Grizedale

By Sammy Hamill

Published 25/11/2016

Donagh Kelly
Donagh Kelly

Donagh Kelly, the 2015 Irish Tarmac champion, takes a first step to assessing his options for next season when he takes part in the Grizedale Rally in Cumbria this weekend.

After a hectic season in which he won the Tarmac title and the Irish national championship, Kelly sat out most of this year to concentrate on business, making only occasional appearances in his WRC Ford Focus but winning again in West Cork and Killarney.

He also made the decision not to switch to the new R5 cars which have re-vitalised the Tarmac series and saw Keith Cronin win the title in a final round shoot-out with Alastair Fisher and Sam Moffett.

But now Kelly has indicated he could be tempted back next year. As a first step he will drive an M-Sport R5 Ford Fiesta in the Grizedale Rally, a forest event, tomorrow.

"At this stage it is just a run-out to see if I like the car," said the helicopter-flying KN Networks boss. "It is quite some time since I've been on the loose (gravel) so I don't expect to be racing anyone. It is really just to find out what the R5 is like.

"They have been pretty impressive in the championship this year and have certainly closed the gap on the old WRC cars. I'm just looking at the options."

Kelly is one of a number of Irish drivers venturing into the Lake District forests. Others include Adrian Hetherington, Brendan Cumiskey, Stanley Ballantine and young William Creighton. The line-up is headed by former BTRDA champion Stephen Petch and includes Scottish champion Euan Thorburn, both in Fiestas.

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