BY CATHERINE COOK
THERE were great celebrations at the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny yesterday evening as the 42nd Donegal International Rally drew to a close.
More than one thousand rally fans lined the surrounding roads to await the return of cars to the finishing ramp at the Mount Errigal as they made their way from the final stages around Glen, the Atlantic Drive and Fanad.
Monaghan man Sam Moffett claimed his first victory in the Irish Tarmac Championship by winning the 2013 Donegal International Rally for the first time. Along with James O’Reilly, he took the championship after a time penalty on front runners, Garry Jennings and Neil Doherty. While Derrick McGarrity was one of the fastest of the day, Moffett held onto his lead.
Letterkenny’s team of Manus Kelly and Donall Barrett were front runners in the national rally category.
Again this year, the Donegal International Rally passed of without incident and gardai have said that the majority of people who converged on the county for the event were “impeccably behaved”.
Inspector Michael Harrison thanked the many responsible drivers who were in the county over the weekend.
He did confirm, however, that a number of arrests were made for motoring-related offences and said those arrested will appear before the courts in due course. There were also a number of public order arrests, however, a decrease was recorded on the figures from last year.
Visitor numbers for this year are said to be on a par with last year, bringing significant benefits to local accommodation providers as well as bars and restaurants.
It is estimated that more than 50,000 were in Donegal to follow this year’s International Rally.
The successful event concluded with a major celebratory function in the Mount Errigal Hotel which has, for decades, had strong ties with the annual event.