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Eugene Donnelly remains in hospital after Sligo Rally crash

By Sammy Hamill

Published 12/07/2016

Accident: Eugene Donnelly, acting as co-driver, suffered a number of injuries
Accident: Eugene Donnelly, acting as co-driver, suffered a number of injuries

Five-time Irish Tarmac champion Eugene Donnelly remained in hospital last night following an accident in Sunday's Sligo Rally.

Donnelly, who has also been Irish national and forestry champion, was not driving in the event but had swapped seats with Paul Kiely, his navigator in many past victories.

That meant Kiely was the driver in his home event with Donnelly in the co-driver's seat.

They crashed on the first stage, their hired Mitsubishi Lancer hitting a tree head-on.

Both were taken to Sligo General Hospital where Kiely was diagnosed with a fractured pelvis but released on Sunday evening.

Donnelly suffered a broken collarbone, suspected fractured ribs and internal bleeding.

He was due to undergo further scans yesterday afternoon.

His brother Charlie, also a former Irish national champion, said: "They have both been very lucky.

"It appears to have been a heavy impact with the tree and it might have been a lot worse.

"Their injuries have mostly come from the seatbelts which, of course, also saved them."

Donnelly, who has won 18 Irish international rallies including the Circuit of Ireland twice, is unusual in that he is one of the few leading drivers who will often reverse roles and navigate for friends.

Sunday's rally was won by Tyrone's Paddy McVeigh, who was driving a Subaru Impreza.

Meanwhile, Sam Moffett, currently joint-leader of this year's Irish Tarmac Championship, demonstrated his racing pedigree with back-to-back wins in the ASK Irish supercar series at Mondello on Sunday.

Moffett has now won three races in a row to move into contention for the Championship despite having to miss two rounds because of rally commitments.

He shares the lead in the premier Tarmac series with Alastair Fisher heading into next month's Ulster Rally, which is also a round of the British Championship, where his brother Josh holds fourth place after finishing fifth on the Nicky Grist Stages in Wales at the weekend.

Two other Irish drivers, Jonny Greer and Desi Henry, are fifth and sixth in the Championship which is being led by Welshmen Elfyn Evans and Tom Cave, who finished first and second ahead of Henry on Sunday.

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