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Donegal Rally to make long-awaited return for 50th running after two-year absence due to Covid-19 pandemic

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Sad loss: Manus Kelly will be acknowledged with a memorial award. Credit: Jonathan Curran

Sad loss: Manus Kelly will be acknowledged with a memorial award. Credit: Jonathan Curran

Sad loss: Manus Kelly will be acknowledged with a memorial award. Credit: Jonathan Curran

The Joule Donegal International Rally will celebrate its half-century next month as one of Ireland’s most decorated sporting events makes its much-anticipated return for the first time since 2019.

Organisers of the three-day event, which runs over the weekend of June 17-19, have drawn up a route comprising “some of the most demanding stages to be found anywhere across Europe”.

A round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and also the European Rally Trophy, the main 161 car field will tackle 20 closed road tests totalling almost 190 competitive miles.

Some of the classic stages include An Grianan, Carnhill, Fanad Head, Knockalla, High Glen and Atlantic Drive. The bulk of the action will be played out on Saturday, with the two longest stages held that day.

In tribute to the late Manus Kelly — a three-time champion of the international section who lost his life while taking part in 2019 — the overall winners will receive the Manus Kelly Memorial Award.

Chairman of Donegal Motor Club Brian Brogan believes the Donegal International Rally continues to be a torch-bearer for the sport.

“It sets the standard other rallies in Ireland aspire to,” he explained.

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“That’s down to the team involved and the warm welcome extended by the local community.

“It brings a minimum of 25 million Euros to the local economy. The rally is still a month away but already every hotel and bed and breakfast are full. The excitement is building.”

Donegal is the antepenultimate round of the Irish Tarmac Championship title race which is currently led by Josh Moffett. His advantage over recent Rally of the Lakes winner, Callum Devine, is 21 points.


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