Sky Sports News’ F1 analyst Tony Jardine and BBC Radio 5 Live’s Maurice Hamilton continue their rallying exploits this weekend when the pair will contest the Topaz Donegal International Rally 2012. The duo will once again campaign the ProSpeed run Mitsubishi Evo that they used to great success on the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge) Circuitof Ireland Rally over the Easter weekend when the stages concentrated in the East of the country, whereas this time it will be the famous North West and the mecca that is Donegal.
The Kumho-shod Lancer Evo IX, owned by Northern Ireland’s Raymond Mason this time also carries backing on this event from Castle Murray House Hotel, along with Tony Jardine’s normal partners MIS Motorsport, Kumho, Arai and Alpinestars The event starts on Friday (15th June) with the first stage at around midday, to the East of Letterkenny and ahead lies over 20 stages with nearly 302km spread over three days, of competitive tarmac to contest, before the event finishes late on Sunday afternoon. Friday sees the return of the famous town stage that was synonymous with the event many years ago, when this year Buncrana will host the sights and sounds of over 130 crews as they blast their way through the narrow streets during the Friday run of stages to the East of Letterkenny.
Saturday will see the crews head to the North of host town Letterkenny when stages such as Grove Hall, Gartan Lake and the world famous Fanad and Knockalla, will be visited.Service will be based on Saturday and Sunday in Milford. Sunday will see the pair then venture further west of Letterkenny to contest the likes of Glen and Atlantic Drive stages, which always draw huge crowds of spectators, before returning to Letterkenny and the finish at the Mount Errigal hotel where the crowds will welcome all the drivers back.
The Donegal International holds a special place in the hearts of most drivers, with classic stages such as Atlantic Drive, Fanad Head, Glen Village and Grovehill to name but a few.After two days of recce, checking and making pacenotes for all the stages Tony said “Its really nice to rally in Ireland and I love coming over here, it’s always a warm welcome