Belfast Telegraph

Duggan, Devine will take on big guns in Donegal

 

By Sammy Hamill

They are two of the most recent winners of Ireland's prestigious Billy Coleman Award and now Rob Duggan and Callum Devine are set to pit themselves against the leading contenders in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship.

Duggan, from Killarney, and young Derry driver Devine are both stepping up to R5 Ford Fiestas for the Joule Donegal International, where they will face the likes of champion Sam Moffett, his brother Josh - leader of this year's series - Robert Barrable and Desi Henry.

Devine is using his £40,000 Coleman Award bursary plus his prize money for winning the British Junior Championship in 2017 to fund his challenge for the World Junior Championship, an all R2T Fiesta series, but last year he acquired an R5 version from China which he drove to a top-25 finish on Wales Rally GB.

It is the car he will use in Donegal, whereas Duggan, who was British Junior champion in 2016 but has reverted back to a Mk2 Ford Escort for his local appearances this season, is going down the hire route for his R5 debut.

They join an overflowing entry for the June 15-17 international.

Heading the line-up is Manus Kelly, winner for the past two years, who will be followed by a string of past Tarmac champions in Donagh Kelly, Declan Boyle, Garry Jennings, a returning Darren Gass and Derek McGarrity, all in WRC cars.

Sam Moffett is the highest seeded R5 contender at No.7.

Meanwhile, Ulster's trio of GT racers face one of the toughest rounds of the Blancpain European Endurance Championship this weekend, six hours and 1,000km of the Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France.

So far Steven Kane and the Bentley team have been struggling to get the new version of the GT3 Continentals up to speed and have not made the top 10 in either of the first two rounds.

Andrew Watson has twice finished 15th with the Garage 59 McLaren team, while Charlie Eastwood will aim to bounce back after his Oman Racing Aston Martin clashed with a Lamborghini during the final hour of the British round at Silverstone last time out.

Belfast Telegraph

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