Manus Kelly out to shoot down big guns in Donegal Rally yet again
Manus Kelly, last year's surprise winner, heads a packed entry list for the Joule Donegal International Rally on June 16-18.
Local hero Kelly, driving a WRC Subaru for only the second time, won the premier Irish Tarmac championship round for the first time after several of the leading contenders - including past winners Garry Jennings, Declan Boyle and Eugene Donnelly - faltered.
Kelly will be back on board the same Melvin Evans S12 Subaru as he goes head-to-head again with the likes of Tarmac champions Jennings, Boyle, Donagh Kelly and Derek McGarrity.
The notable name missing from the line-up is current Tarmac champion Keith Cronin who is concentrating on the British series this season. He lost out to winner Kelly by just five-10ths of a second in a dramatic last stage shoot-out last year.
But all the leading challengers for this season's Tarmac title are in an entry list which has far exceeded the 150 maximum number of starters in the main rally.
The junior and historic categories are also full despite entry fees including a steep Motorsport Ireland levy to meet soaring insurance costs.
With the overall Tarmac series now restricted to R5 cars it is Sam Moffett who heads the standings after his Rally of the Lakes win, and he is seeded at No.5 behind the WRC cars of Manus Kelly, Jennings (Subaru), Boyle (Ford Fiesta) and Donagh Kelly (Ford Focus).
The R5 cars of Alastair Fisher, Robert Barrable and Josh Moffett are next with Seamus Leonard in a McKinstry Motorsport Subaru and McGarrity in his WRC Ford Fiesta completing the top 10.
And making what is becoming an annual appearance will be motorbike ace Michael Dunlop who will be heading to Donegal with his Mk2 Ford Escort after the Isle of Man TT races.