Alastair Fisher and Garry Jennings are both targeting success in this weekend’s Donegal International Rally. An overall victory for Jennings would be his third victory in the North West, while for Alastair Fisher a win in the R5 class and top championship points would reignite his Irish Tarmac Championship title hopes.

Garry Jennings will once again be out in his familiar Subaru, and will be looking to add an outright win to his previous successes in 2012 and 2015. In a high quality field of World Rally Cars, the Ballinamallard driver’s main competition is likely to come from Declan Boyle, Donagh Kelly and last year’s winner Manus Kelly. In 2016 Garry’s rally was disappointingly brief after he suffered engine failure on the opening stage, and he is hoping for an improved showing this time around.

“I was disappointed last year to only get one stage, so this year we need to get our head down and at least get around the event. It’s bad for morale when you don’t even get past the first stage.”

Survival is a key element of Ireland’s only three day rally but he is not planning to take it easy, although he is not sure if his relative lack to time behind the steering wheel this season will have an effect.

“You can’t pace yourself in Donegal,” he said.

“It’s the fastest man out of the blocks that doesn’t make any mistakes that will win. I feel different this year though. I’m really looking forward to getting out there and doing the rally. In other years there was a lot of pressure on me, but this year I feel there is none. I’m not going in as favourite this time around and that is good.

“We are sorting out a couple of wee problems with the car after Cavan, mainly just because the car was sitting up for a while, but we will have that all sorted and be ready to go on Friday.”

Alastair Fisher approaches the event knowing a poor rally could effectively end his hopes of securing the tarmac championship. After failing to finish on the previous round of the series in Killarney, he cannot afford another non finish. Ireland’s only three day rally will provide a tough challenge, but the Trillick driver will know that if he were to secure maximum points then he could resume the championship lead with two rounds remaining. Last season Alastair was in contention for the rally win before an off road excursion cost him almost three minutes and demoted him to a fifth place finish.

William Mavitty will be looking for a good class performance in his Group N Mitsubishi Evo. He is in contention for the Group N championship title and will start from number 61 with a slender lead in the class. Damian McAleer will face a tough challenge in the highly competitive class 13 in his Escort, and the local crews are completed by Ruairi McGarrity who will be out in his Peugeot 106.

The action begins with the Trentagh stage on Friday lunchtime with six stages on the opening day. The second day is the longest day with eight stages and the final day has six more stages including the classic Fanad, Atlantic Drive and Glen test and the first car is due back at the finish ramp at 6pm on Sunday evening.