Superb Second for Mark Donnelly on Jim Clark Rally! Second place on the Citroen Racing Trophy UK Jim Clark Rally in Scotland, netted 19 year old Omagh driver Mark Donnelly a welcome 4000E prize money from Citroen Racing. It was indeed a...
Superb Second for Mark Donnelly on Jim Clark Rally!
Second place on the Citroen Racing Trophy UK Jim Clark Rally in Scotland, netted 19 year old Omagh driver Mark Donnelly a welcome 4000E prize money from Citroen Racing. It was indeed a needed boost for the young rally driver after a disappointing early retirement on his outing in Killarney. "The Jim Clark was a good confidence builder after Killarney, and I think I've made a few more improvements on driving the C2 on tarmac. I'm looking forward now to the next Citroen Racing Trophy (CRT) Ireland round in Donegal."
For the Jim Clark Mark's Citroen C2 R2 Max was once again rebuilt by the Motor Sport Service team, and he also had a new co-driver in for this event, Monaghan's Emmett Sherry. It took a while for the pair to acclimatise as they started the Friday night stages, with the first stage a blast through the late Jim Clark's home town of Duns. However Mark was impressive with an eighth fastest overall time and top two wheel drive machine. Onto the first proper stage, Abbey St Bathans, and at the end of this 15 mile test Mark was lying 11th overall, 2nd Citroen to English driver Richard Sykes but there were a few worries inside the car. "We had a problem with the oil light flickering on and off, and I was worried about the engine, so we were easing off a lot. We had a similar problem on the Circuit of Ireland and I was just worried about the same issue again, but Robbie McGurk changed a few things on the day's final service and the car was perfect for day two." Overnight they lay 12th overall and 2nd CRT runner, 26 seconds down on a charging Robert Barrable, despite also clipping the rear of the C2 on stage 3.
"I started day two a little too cautious, and we dropped a good bit of time to Robbie. We also had a big moment over a series of crests when I wasn't prepared for a Square right and we got stuck in a field for 30 seconds. I certainly wasn't pushing really hard, and it was taking a few stages to rebuild the confidence on the fast stuff too." Nevertheless after eleven stages, with three to go, they were 2nd Citroen, 1 minute 8 seconds behind Robert Barrable, and 3rd two wheel drive car, now just 3.3 seconds behind Finnish ace Matti Rantanen with his Renault Twingo R2. When the rain came down for the final few stages however, Mark put in some very good times. "We had a good push on the first wet stage, and took 16 back off Robert, and moved ahead of Matti Rantanen which I was happy about. That also was important for our finishing position in Group R and the Citroen prize money. Now though I'm really looking forward to Donegal and I really want to be right there if I can."
A finishing position of 11th overall and 2nd CRT UK runner now means Mark commands a healthy second place in the CRT UK series with the next round on the Isle of Man, whilst the next CRT Irish round is Donegal on June 18th- 20th.
-source: mark donnelly