AN EMOTIONAL JONATHAN PRINGLE took victory in the Clanree Hotel Donegal Mini Stages Rally.
The Cavan native, with Alan Keena calling the notes in the Escort, had 16.6 seconds to spare on Ryan Loughran, who pipped Muff man Joe McGonigle to the runners-up spot.
Frank Wray had been in second spot, but mechanical trouble on the penultimate stage led to his withdrawal.
On SS3, Pringle had a scorching tim, finishing in 7:15.3, around six seconds quicker than his nearest competitor and from here he never looked back.
That blistering time over the Dooish stage was effectively the winning of the rally for Pringle, who won the Two-Wheel Drive Championship in the National Rally last year and regularly contests with the likes of Declan Gallagher at events.
“It was a long time coming,” Pringle said.
“We drove well. Everything worked well for us. I’m very happy.
“They were fabulous stages. The last loop was the slippiest. We took the feet off a little bit in the last stage, but we still kept the concentration. We kept the foot to the board there.”
A communications problem meant that the first stage wasn’t run, while Damien Tourish – fastest on stage 2 – was an early faller from the race.
Overnight frost meant that conditions were very testing for competitors, but it was Pringle who held firm. He held a 5.8 second lead going into the final two stages, but Wray’s withdrawal meant that he had plenty to spare in the end up.
Aidan Wray was the Group N winner with Pat Kirk in second.
In the overall standings, Brian Brogan and Damien McGettigan finished fourth, while Damien Gallagher and Brendan McElhinney came fifth.
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