JAMES CULLEN says rallying in Donegal is perhaps at its highest ever level.
Cullen is a six-time winner of the motorsport award at the Donegal Sports Star Awards and in 2014 he returned to rallying to compete in the Donegal International Rally.
In competing in the Escort, alongside Damien Connolly, Cullen marked the 25th anniversary of his first win in the Donegal International Rally.
The Letterkenny man has been a driver, navigator, spectator and he even served as the Clerk of the Course for the Donegal Rallies of 1982 and ’83.
Cullen’s famous wins in 1991 and 1999 are among the most memorable in the history of the Donegal Rally and .him spraying the champagne from the bonnet of the Sierra, with the late, great Ellen Morgan alongside him, remains one of the Donegal Rally’s abiding images.
“The International Rally here has raised the profile of motorsport,” Cullen says.
“We can see the seed that it has set with the amount of rally winners and people who are very competitive over the last 20 years. That’s proof of that.”
Of his own successes, he says: “They are great memories. There were plenty of ups and downs. It was a great time to be rallying. We had great rivalries and great competition. Competing against the best is the biggest thrill of all.”
The summer of ’16 saw another fable penned as Manus Kelly and Donnall Barrett took a nail-biting win across the famous Donegal tar. Before them, Vincent Bonner, Cullen and Declan Boyle had driven across the ramp as the winner.
Cullen says: “Sport still produces fantastic stories last year. To have another Donegal crew winning Donegal was fantastic. It’s not that easy done. It was great for Manus.”
Listen to the full interview below …