Ireland’s No.1 driver Eugene Donnelly will head a 60-strong entry list for the Londonderry-based UAC Easter International Rally which takes place on April 7/8. Donnelly, from Maghera in Co Derry, won the 2006 Circuit of Ireland Rally – which for contractual reasons is renamed the Easter International this year – and the reigning Tarmac champion returns to lead the line-up ahead of British champion Mark Higgins, Eamonn Boland and Ireland’s Junior World championship star Kris Meeke.
All three will drive WRC (World Rally Car) Subaru Imprezas, Donnelly’s being the latest S12 version from Subaru’s World champion team, Prodrive. It was in this Esker-sponsored car that he led two-time World champion Marcus Grönholm on last month’s Galway International only to crash out two stages from the end.
Higgins, who leads this year’s Tarmac championship, returns to Ireland after winning the Production class on the World championship Rally Mexico. The Welsh-based Manxman drives an S11 Pirelli Subaru, partnered by Letterkenny co-driver Rory Kennedy. Meeke will also be in a Triton Showers-sponsored S11 Subaru run by the McKinstry Motorsport team from Banbridge. Despite the fact he hails from Dungannon, this will be a rare Irish appearance for the 26-year-old who has spent the past four years competing in the Junior World championship for Opel and Citroen.
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