June 20, 2023
Carbon Positive Motorsport Ambassador Matt Edwards was competing in Ireland last weekend on the fabled Donegal Rally.
Photo credit: D Harrigan Images
The Wilton Recycling Donegal International Rally is known as one of the toughest rally car challenges in Ireland, consisting of three days of spectacular rally car driving, from the legendary Knockalla Coast Road to the lush green farm lands of Carnhill, to the wide open bog land landscape of Glen!#.
The rally also counts as one full round of the annual Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, attracting huge crowds, and the best Irish, British and International drivers from around the globe every year.
Welsh ace Matt Edwards put in a fine drive in some difficult conditions and despite car issues on Friday, to challenge rally winners, Callum Devine/Noel O’Sullivan in their VW Polo R5. Derryman Devine secured a hard earned victory, following a pulsating tussle with Monaghan’s Josh Moffett and his Wexford co-driver Andy Hayes, who exited the contest on SS17 after their Hyundai suffered a broken wheel.
Devine/O’Sullivan finished 55.5 seconds ahead of Matt Edwards and Mallow native David Moynihan, also in a VW Polo GTi R5, with the Hyundai i20 Rally2 of Monaghan’s Sam Moffett and Limerick’s Keith Moriarty 39.1 seconds further behind in third.
While wet roads and changeable weather were the backdrop to Saturday’s leg of eight stages, the level of competition showed no signs of abating. Indeed, Devine ramped up his cause and after the run over the trio of stages at Carnhill, Garrygort and Knockalla, he was the new rally leader - 6.5s up on Moffett.
Devine continued his fine pace on the repeat loop duly increasing his lead to 15s. At the Letterkenny service park, second placed Moffett admitted he was trying very hard but things were just not adding up.
The frenetic pace at the front wasn’t just the preserve of the leading duo. Matt Edwards, who had lost well over a minute with a transmission associated issues on Friday’s stages, gave a masterful display on both runs over the iconic Knockalla, where he posted the fastest time and occupied fourth with Sam Moffett’s third place very much on his radar.
Photo credit: D Harrigan Images
An overshoot on the day’s penultimate stage saw Devine loose slightly more than half of his advantage and when Moffett was quicker of the two on the day’s final stage, the margin was down to just 4.9s at the overnight halt. Sam Moffett’s previous stronghold on third was becoming tenuous as Edwards thrilled the vast crowds and with fastest times over Carnhill and Garrygort ended the day 5.1s off that third place.
Having crashed out of the lead twelve months ago, Devine made no mistake this time around and punched in the top times on the opening two stages of the final leg to extend his lead to 17.7s. The exciting contest ended a stage later when Josh Moffett slid on the wet roads and the impact with the scenery broke the rear right wheel. That left Devine with a lead of 53.1s over Sam Moffett, who was coming under increasing pressure from Edwards.
Not surprisingly, the three-time British Rally Champion took second spot on the next stage (SS18) where rain made the conditions extremely slippery.
Devine went on to seal victory and move into the lead of the Irish Tarmac Championship. Considering his position last Friday, Edwards’ second spot was a bonus.
Wilton Recycling Donegal International Rally Results:
1. C. Devine / N. O'Sullivan VW Polo GTi R5 2h. 23m. 36.1s;
2. M. Edwards /D. Moynihan VW Polo GTi R5 +55.5
3. S. Moffett / K. Moriarty Hyundai i20 Rally2 +1m. 34.6s
4. M. Evans / J. Jackson VW Polo GTi R5 +2m. 12.1
5. R. Barrable / G. Noble Citroen C3 Rally2 +2m. 33.2
6. R. Loughran / G. Doherty Ford Fiesta Rally2 +3m. 16.8
7. J. Greer / N. Burns Citroen C3 Rally2 +3m. 44.9
8. G. Jennings / R. Kennedy Ford Fiesta Rally2 +4m. 22.1
9. D. Henry / P. Robinson Citroen C3 Rally2 +4m. 27.7
10. K. Gallagher / R. Moore Darrian T90 GTR +5. 34.6
Rally report from the Irish Examiner
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