Belfast Telegraph

Donegal International Rally given green light after scare

By Sammy Hamill

The Topaz Donegal International Rally went ahead yesterday but only after a late intervention by scrutineers from the UK Motor Sports Association.

A dispute involving Donegal Motor Club and Motorsport Ireland’s Technical Advisory Group stretching back to last year’s rally, saw the Irish scrutineers, who are responsible for the eligibility and safety of the cars, refuse to officiate at this year’s event.

A statement this week signed by the chairman of the Irish scrutineers association Pat Tarrant said: “Despite our best efforts over the past six months, the refusal of Donegal Motor Club to retract sections of their letter sent to Motorsport Ireland in July 2009 resulting in a situation whereby at this late stage there are no Motorsport Ireland scrutineers appointed to the Donegal International Rally 2010.”

However, Nicky Strathan, co-ordinator of the Irish Technical Advisory Group, agreed to step in and lead a team made up of scrutineers from the UK MSA, allowing the three-day rally to begin from Letterkenny this morning.

Meanwhile, the Donegal Rally in the 1970s was a marathon affair for all involved. They were long days and even longer nights.

It was a time when Cahal Curley was king, a three-time winner in the years between 1972 and ’74, and always with songwriter pal Phil Coulter leading his supporters group.

And this weekend that memorable Donegal decade will be the theme for a grand reunion up at the Downings with Curley and Coulter in attendance along with other winners from the 70s.

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