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Triple British Rally champion Matt Edwards will contest the Donegal International Rally (17-19 June) for the first time in a Pirelli-shod Citroën C3 R5.

It will be the Colwyn Bay-based driver’s first rally in a modern state-of-the-art four-wheel drive car since he won the 2021 British title on last year’s Ulster Rally in a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5.

Matt has never driven a Citroën C3 R5 before and this ex-Mads Østberg example is on loan from Darren Gass.

Matt will be co-driven by David Moynihan. Whilst they have never competed together before, they have developed a good working relationship whilst working with Pirelli in this year’s Irish Tarmac Rally Championship. David has also been instrumental in putting the deal to do Donegal together.

“I’ve never been to the Donegal Rally before, not even to watch, but having worked with Pirelli in this year’s Irish Tarmac Rally Championship I know what an important event it is and how highly regarded it is held in Irish motorsport,” says Matt.

“It’s one of the all-time classic Irish rallies and there are some legendary stages like Atlantic Drive, Knockalla and Fanad Head which I am really looking forward to.

“Donegal is three days and almost two hundred stage miles long. I’ve not done a rally of that length since Wales Rally GB in 2019, so it will be a good test of speed and endurance and I’m keen to see how I’ll get on.

“It’s also my first event in an R5 car since last year’s Ulster Rally, so after such a long layoff it will be interesting to see how quickly I can get up to speed in a modern car. It will certainly be a lot different to the gravel rallies that I’ve been doing this year in a historic-spec Fiat 131 Abarth!

“I’ve never driven, nor done any driver coaching in, a Citroën C3 R5, so that will be a completely new car for me. It’s always good to gain experience with something new and it will be interesting to compare the C3 to the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i20 and Volkswagen Polo R5 cars that I’ve competed in.

“It will be the first time that David [Moynihan] has co-driven for me, although we have talked about it many times. We have been working together this year with Pirelli in the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship and it’s because of David’s contacts in Irish motorsport that the idea to do Donegal together has developed into reality. I’m very grateful to him as it wouldn’t be happening without all his hard work.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my sponsors, namely Pirelli, Waste Water Solutions, ND Civils, Carbon Positive Motorsport and a couple of silent backers who are helping behind the scenes. It’s been hard to find the budget to contest Donegal and we are still trying to find a few partners to help cover some of the peripheral costs – so if anyone can help it would be very much appreciated.

“The aim for Donegal is to enjoy three days of great rallying, gain experience in a new car and do the very best we can. It’s a fantastic entry, the competition will be fierce and I’m looking forward to competing on some of the world’s best asphalt stages in an R5 car.”

Based in Letterkenny, this year’s Donegal International Rally celebrates the 50th running of one of Ireland’s most famous motorsport events. Following a ceremonial start on Thursday 16 June, the competition gets underway on Friday (17 June) with six stages totalling 49 stage miles, including two runs over Dooish Hill, An Grianan and Mouldy Hill. With 87.8 miles of stages, Saturday (18 June) is the longest day of the event. It features eight very challenging stages, including two runs over Carnhill and the two longest stages of the rally, the famous Fanad Head (12.35 miles) and Knockalla (12.18 miles) tests. Sunday (19 June) has a further six stages totalling 50.3 stage miles, with two runs over Gartan, High Glen and the stunning Atlantic Drive test. After all 20 stages and 187 stage miles have been completed, the podium celebrations will take place outside the Mount Errigal Hotel at around 18:00.

MERALLY.CO.UK

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