Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 29 May 2016

Donagh Kelly steps it up a gear to triumph in Sperrins

By Sammy Hamill

Published 13/05/2013

Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan - Mitusbishi - Evo 9
Donagh Kelly/Kevin Flanagan - Mitusbishi - Evo 9

Donagh Kelly extracted a degree of revenge with his victory on the Tour of the Sperrins, the third round of the Northern Ireland rally championship.

A week earlier he had lost the runners-up position on the Rally of the Lakes to Derek McGarrity who came with a late charge to narrowly edge out him out.

But when the Killarney duel was re-enacted in the wet and slippery Sperrin Mountains on Saturday it was Kelly who reigned supreme.

McGarrity had led by eight seconds at the midway point in his S14 Subaru with Kelly, recent winner of the Circuit of Kerry, claiming he had been “too cautious” in the treacherous conditions and vowing to step up the pace.

And step up he did, setting fastest times over the final three stages in his Airtricity S11 Subaru to edge out McGarrity by eight seconds — a margin that may have been affected when McGarrity was distracted by the sight of two quad bike riders heading towards him on the second stage.

Behind the two Subarus, Camillus Bradley drove a storming rally in his Ford Escort to claim third place and held off the WRC Mini of Derek McGeehan in their personal Draperstown duel.

Desi Henry finished fifth in his DS3 Citroen with Declan McNaughton sixth in his Mk2 Escort. Henry and Mark Donnelly, who finished seventh, were both using the event as preparation for the next round of the British championship in Scotland.

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