With the Joule Donegal International Rally just under a week away, the excitement continues to build. Final prep of man (woman) and machine is continuing at a frantic pace. This weekend sees the start of the recce for all the crews. This is where the crews drive the stages at normal speeds in their road cars making pacenotes which will allow them to drive at their maximum on the weekend of the 17th-19th of June. With crews normally taking two days to complete the recce, hotel and Bed and Breakfast rooms are at a premium. Also restaurants, cafes and shops along the route will benefit as drivers and co-drivers need to be refuelled.
This year’s route has a familiar look to it, with crews assembling at the An Grianan Theatre for a safety briefing. They are then ready to tackle the Friday stages, which are located in the Letterkenny/ Ballybofey area with centralised service at the rear of the Clanree Hotel.
Saturday kicks off with awesome Knockalla stage which sees the crews start alongside Ballymastocker Bay and climb and weave along the coast road towards Rathmullan before turning inland to complete a loop of tighter twisting roads. Then on to the Garrygort stage which brings the crews into service, they then repeat these two stages. In the afternoon the crews tackle stages in the Gartan Lake and Carnhill area, again these stages are repeated. Centralised service for both Saturday and Sunday is the Mart in Milford.
Sunday has three of the most famous stage names in Irish Rallying, with crews tackling Glen, Atlantic Drive and Fanad, these stages will be completed twice. These roads are part of the beautiful Wild Atlantic Way, but drivers and co-drivers will not have time to enjoy the views. They will be battling for every second as it will decide the overall order and class positions.
When the crews arrive back at the Mount Errigal Hotel on Sunday evening, celebrations will commence and the party has been known to continue for days!!!! Others will have had a difficult weekend, but no doubt will have a story to tell. This is what makes the ‘Donegal Experience’ so special, everyone has a story, so come along and write your own chapter.