Donegal Int. Rally marred by tragedy

Fatality causes cancellation of event for ProSpeed / VSM team

In an unfortunate incident on the second day on the Topaz Donegal International Rally a spectator was  hit  and  killed  as  he  crossed  a  stage. 

The  incident  happened  in  the  early  afternoon  and  the rally’s organisers took the immediate decision to cancel the rest of the afternoon and the final day of the rally.

At the point when the rally was cancelled the media duo of Sky Sport’s Tony Jardine and Radio 5 Live’s Maurice Hamilton were lying in 28th place with their stage times constantly improving.  The pair were set the challenge of driving a World Rally Championship (WRC) Skoda Octavia Three in the Topaz Donegal International rally by rally organiser Damion Crawford and Clerk of the course Danny  Gormley. 

Having  never  driven  a  WRC  car  before  or  competed  in  the  Donegal  Rally  both driver Jardine and co-driver Hamilton were understandably nervous before the start. After a steady first run of the beautiful Knockella stages the pair managed to shave 11 seconds off their time on their second run in their Motorsport Insurance Services supported car.

Driver  Tony  Jardine  said,”  I  am  really  coming  to  terms  with  the  technology  in  this  car  and  the phenomenal grip of the Kumho tyres, I think the improvement in our stage times is evidence of that. It  would  be  great  to  see  how  much  more  we  could  improve  but  regrettably  with  all  Motorsport occasionally accidents happen. Our condolences go out to the family of the spectator.

“It  has  been  a  fantastic  opportunity  for  me  and  Maurice  to  come  out  to  Ireland  and  drive  such  a wonderful  car  and  we  are  grateful  to  Richard  Hogg  and  LGC  Precision  Engineering  and  Team Donegal for making it possible. We have thoroughly enjoyed the competition and hopefully we will be back for some more Irish Rallying in the not too distant future.”

Commenting on the competition co-driver Hamilton said, “I fully respect the organiser’s decision but I can not begin to say how frustrating it is to not be able to complete the third and final day. I really felt we were getting to know the cat and getting to grips with it and especially when we made out second run on the Knockella stage and improved so much on our previous time. That Skoda is a rocket ship! I just love being in it. All told it has been a truly memorable event and I would like to thank everyone concerned for giving me the opportunity to take part in this classic.”