ULSTER RALLY: Double success for Donagh Kelly

Donagh Kelly (right) and co-driver Kevin Flanagan celebrate winning the Todd's Leap Ulster Rally 2015 in his Ford Focus WRC.
Donagh Kelly (right) and co-driver Kevin Flanagan celebrate winning the Todd's Leap Ulster Rally 2015 in his Ford Focus WRC.

Donagh Kelly in his Ford Focus wins the Todds Leap Ulster Rally and seals the 2015 Clonakilty Black Pudding Irish Tarmac Championship following last minute dramas for Garry Jennings.

Kelly had led for a day and a half until Jennings, in his WRC Subaru Impreza, made a charge for the lead taking ten stage wins to overcome earlier mechanical problems and a 40 second penalty.

Closing the gap on Kelly, Jennings finally took the lead on stage eight. By the time he started the final stage (12) the Kesh driver had a comfortable 48 second lead.

Then disaster struck when, within sight of victory, the Subaru caught fire sending his dreams of the Ulster Rally hat trick of wins up in smoke. Driver and co-driver are fine but the same can’t be said for the car.

Jennings’ retirement left the way clear for Kelly’s first Ulster Rally win and at the finish ramp he said; “We just drove steady and took no chances and unfortunately Garry had the problem on the last stage and gifted us the win, but we’ll take the gift.

“We hadn’t really thought about winning the championship too much at the start of the year so it’s a real bonus to win that and the Ulster Rally, I really wasn’t expecting it.”

Desi Henry in his Skoda Fabia S2000 finished second after a tremendous run through the Fermanagh and Tyrone stages, closely followed by Derek McGeehan in his Mini WRC who finished top National winner.

Jonny Greer in his Citroen DS3 finished fourth overall winning his class while Derek McGarrity had a troubled weekend bringing his Subaru Impreza WRC home fifth. Young hotshots Jon Armstrong and Robert Duggan finished sixth and seventh overall and the top two wheel driver duo.

Daniel McKenna’s development Toyota GT86 finished in a respectable eighth place ahead of Callum Devine’s Opel Adam with Camillus Bradley’s MKII Ford Escort rounding off the top ten finishers.

In the historic category, local man Raymond Johnston in his Ford Escort RS1800 took the win ahead of English visitors, Rob Smith and Ernie Graham both driving Ford Escort RSs.

Clerk of the course, Gary Milligan said; “This was a tremendous weekend of motorsport and I would like to congratulate not only the winners but everyone who supported the event whether they were a competitor, sponsor, spectator or one of the 800 volunteers that make the Ulster Rally such as success.”