DONNELLY WINS! CARLSSON CHARGES ONTO PODIUM! Eugene Donnelly stayed on top of the table throughout leg two to take the Rally Ireland 2006 crown. Gareth MacHale, fresh from 6th place in Rally Mexico, went off the road on the second stage of the...
DONNELLY WINS! CARLSSON CHARGES ONTO PODIUM!
Eugene Donnelly stayed on top of the table throughout leg two to take the Rally Ireland 2006 crown. Gareth MacHale, fresh from 6th place in Rally Mexico, went off the road on the second stage of the day and left Donnelly with more than 2 minutes to spare over Eamon Boland for the remaining three stages.
Swede Daniel Carlsson battled his way from 6th place to 3rd place overall ahead of Subrau works driver, Australian Chris Atkinson on the second last stage and he maintained that lead through to the finish. Carlsson finished 4th in Rally Ireland 2005.
KEEP THE RACE IN ITS PLACE
A unique aspect of Rally Ireland 2006 is the road safety campaign that was run in conjunction with this year's WRC candidate event. The National Safety Council (Republic of Ireland) and the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland) devised the 'Keep the Race in its Place' campaign to target rally goers.
Rally Ireland 2006 winner, Eugene Donnelly: "It would be a dream come true for someone like me who is a true rallyman at heart to have the WRC come to Ireland. We've shown that we can provide great challenging stages and inject new ingredients into WRC that will make it special and unique. And I'm delighted to win Rally Ireland."
Australian Chris Atkinson, Group N winner: "These are great challenging stages. I'd love to tackle them in my regular WRC car and hope I get a chance to do just that when Rally Ireland gets into the World Championships."
Sweden's Daniel Carlsson: "This is my second time in Ireland and the stages and atmosphere are great. It is would be a real challenge for the top WRC drivers. It would be great to see Rally Ireland in the WRC.
Ireland's Gareth MacHale, disappointed to have crashed out of the Rally in Stage 8, looks forward to the prospect of a WRC event in Ireland: "Per capita we have more WRC cars than any other country and the fan base is amazing; they have a great loyalty to the sport. Our roads are unique, the sort of tarmac roads you don't have anywhere else. If it does get into the WRC, which I hope it will, it will be very challenging for the top teams and drivers."
Despite retiring on Day 1, French Champion Nicolas Bernardi was impressed with what he saw: "It is very different tarmac to what I am used to in France but I think Rally Ireland can fit into the WRC calendar very easily as a tarmac round of the championship. The stages are safe and the people are very friendly and crazy about rallying."
Another rally over ...... See you in the WRC in 2007!