Media men send off by .....

Irish Deputy Premierrime Minister

Irish Deputy Premierrime MinisterTourist Board support Anglo Irish effort on Topaz Donegal International Rally

The National Tourism Development Authority, Failte Ireland, joined forces with Motorsport Insurance Services and Kumho tyres to support the joint team effort on the Topaz Donegal International Rally, the jewel in the crown of Irish rallying after a briefing and start ceremony in rally town headquarters Letterkenny.

Before the start of the rally the pair were greeted by The Republic of Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Mary Coughlin, Donegal Rally organiser Damion Crawford and Clerk of the Course Danny Gormley.

After a photo call with the VIP group to cement the Donegal relationship Jardine and Hamilton headed over the start ramp to begin the biggest rally challenge either of them have ever faced. Neither have competed on the tough Donegal event or have ever driven a WRC car before, but have started to climb their personal mountains with a successful first day.

The pair safely completed the first stages of the day in their World Rally Championship (WRC) Skoda Octavia Evolution Three despite the massive culture shock the pair have been through.

Driver Jardine commenting at the mid-day service said, “That was awesome! The car is an absolute rocket ship. I am just getting used to the speed that everything comes at you, I am just so pleased that Richard Hogg and LGC Precision Engineering have given us this chance to run on this incredible event.”

After the afternoon stages Jardine commented,

“We flew over a bridge on one of the stages and landed on one wheel, the force of the landing made me feel as if my neck had been forced down through my shoulders. However it was a thrill and we improved as we became more familiar with the car and are really looking forward to tomorrow.

”With the support of both the ProSpeed and VSM Motorsport team behind them, as well as the support of the car’s owner, Richard Hogg, the pair are under pressure to perform well.

Co-driver Hamilton said, “Everything happens so much more quickly than in the production class cars which we have competed in before. The corners come at you in a huge rush and there are times when I can hardly read the notes quickly enough but I know it will all come with practise. It is going to be good to be able to enjoy such a fantastic car.

“Driving this car in this competition is a step up to another level entirely. We will definitely have toraise our game to come home with a good result.”

The media duo of Sky Sport’s Tony Jardine and Radio 5 Live’s Maurice Hamilton finished the firstday of the Topaz Donegal International Rally (13-15 June) 34 th