Irish rally legend Eugene Donnelly will come out of retirement for the 2012 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship which starts in Galway next month.
Donnelly will drive the McGeehan Motorsport WRC MINI at the 2012 Safety Direct Galway International Rally on February 5.
Galway Motor Club, organisers of the rally, has announced that Colm Quinn MINI will sponsor the WRC MINI in the 2012 event, in addition to three stages of the event.
The event will be run over a new one-day format with 10 stages, including the city centre Dyke Road stage, which was last run in 1998. There will then be nine challenging stages in County Galway.
With a new format and reduced entry fee, entries currently stand at more than 140, which will make this event a fabulous start to the 2012 Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, says Alan Fair, operations director with sponsor Safety Direct.
“We are thrilled that McGeehan Motorsport and Colm Quinn Mini have chosen the 2012 Safety Direct Galway International Rally to launch this fantastic car into the championship.”
The Mini World Rally Car will arrive in Ireland shortly for a series of testing and familiarisation before the competitive action begins at the Galway rally.
Eugene Donnelly, with five Tarmac Championships and 19 championship wins, is the most successful and recognised driver in Ireland.
“I am delighted to make a comeback this season,” he says. “ Bringing the first Mini WRC into competitive action in Ireland is something else and I am relishing the opportunity.
“It is our plan to compete in the entire championship campaign in 2012 and we will see how things work out”.
Donnelly will again be accompanied in the co-driver seat by Paddy Toner, a well recognised figure in Irish Motorsport.
As the countdown continues to the rally launch, fans can see the MiniWRC before the event. Colm Quinn will be displaying the car at its Athlone Dealership between 10am and 12 noon on Saturday, February 4. The Donnelly Motorsport team will also be in attendance and Eugene will be available for photographs and autographs.