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Junior World Rally Champion William Creighton to make co-driving debut in Donegal 

The Donegal International is regarded by most competitors and followers as 'The Big One', not only in terms of competitive distance, but also in relation to difficulty, and prestige. For a long time, the only three-day event in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship calendar, and because of its traditional mid-summer date the event usually attracts the largest spectator numbers of the year. Therefore, It is no surprise that several Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy members have placed entries for the event. 

One very interesting entry, from a Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy point of view, is in the historic category. Junior World Rally Champions and current WRC2 M-Sport Ford Fiesta crew William Creighton and Liam Regan are set to swap roles this weekend.

Regan – no stranger to historic rallying as a driver in his Skoda Estelle 130 L – will have his sidekick from the World Rally Championship as his co-driver. This will be the County Down man’s first time on pacenote duty. 

“This is my first time reading notes,” said Creighton. “It is something I’ve wanted to do for a while so when Liam said he needed a co-driver it sounded like the right opportunity. A two-hour flight to a World Rally Championship event and we had the whole thing planned! An iconic rally with an amazing atmosphere so I’m delighted to be a part of it and have a fun weekend with Liam and his team.”

They will join the action on Saturday morning as the historic category is only contesting two of the three days. 

As well as being the fifth round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, the Donegal International Rally is also the fourth round of the Stellantis Cup.

ITRC class leaders Ryan MacHugh and Declan Boyle are the top Rally4 seeds in Donegal. They have been Rally4 the benchmark on the majority of ITRC rallies this season. On home ground this weekend, the Ford Fiesta Rally4 crew are ready for the big one. 

“I am really looking forward to what is one of the biggest rallies in the year in Ireland. To be the top seed in the Rally4 class on my home rally is a honour,” he said.

“We did the recce at the weekend and the Friday stages are really tricky. It is back to classic stages for Saturday and Sunday it is going to be a great battle in the Rally4 class all weekend. I am really looking forward to it.”

They will be challenged by Keelan Grogan. Co-driven by Ayrton Sherlock, Grogan has improved his score on every round contested with the runner-up spot in The Rally of the Lakes a highlight; a win surely is just around the corner for the Peugeot 208 Rally4 driver. 

“We are looking like a very big challenge given the number of stage kilometres as well as a very competitive Rally4 entry,” said Grogan. 

“Donegal will be the halfway point of the Stellantis Cup and although we are currently second there isn’t much of a gap ahead or behind us. A lot of the stages will be new for most of us guys, especially on the Friday. So that should leave a pretty level playing field. Donegal is always the one everyone looks forward to so we would really love a good result.” 

Kyle McBride is on fine form of late, taking the non-championship Jim Clark Rally Junior BRC win in emphatic style last month.  His asphalt pace is proven and with Darragh Mullen alongside he will be a strong bet to be in the race for a class win this time out. Despite this being his home event, it will be his first time tackling the three-day rally. Previous attempts were in the Sunday-only Junior category.

“I am really looking forward to my first time ever doing the three days,” he said. 

“It is the biggest weekend of the year for me. It is an incredibly iconic event and I just cannot wait to be a part of it. It is shaping up to be a great event and has been shaken up a little bit this year with new stages. My preparations are going quite good, the stages are really good and different and include different dynamics.The RC4  class is going to be very tight just like previous events. It has just been mega racing but it is incredible to have good tight racing as it helps everybody push each other on.” 

Three days of classic Donegal lanes await with a gruelling schedule which begins with six stages on Friday. 

Super Saturday will have over 106 kilometres on offer although Sunday’s final leg is no walk in the park, with six tests and ninety-one kilometres in store, bringing the total to over 275 competitive kilometres and twenty stages during the weekend.

Text By Sean Moriarty



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