Alastair Fisher produced one of the best drives of rallying career to take second overall and first in class on the Donegal International Rally.

In a three day battle over the classic stages of the North West, Alastair produced a flawless drive to claim maximum points in the Irish tarmac Championship and overhauled local rival Garry Jennings on the final stage to claim his best ever finish on the event.

“It is up right there with some of the performances we have put in on world championship events,” reflected Alastair.

“It was as hard as we have pushed in a few years to be honest. We didn’t have one moment or one slide really. It was all nice and clean and we drove to our notes and it worked out well. It was a hard long three days, 300 kilometres and twenty stages and it was 100 per cent from the start of the first stage to the finish of the last one.”

For Garry Jennings it was a frustrating rally plagued by problems from day one. Garry was never able to match the pace of eventual winner Manus Kelly and Donagh Kelly, but despite his car problems he battled on to secure a third place finish.

Alastair went into the event with the added pressure of knowing that a non-finish would effectively end his chances of a debut Tarmac Championship win.

He showed no signs of nerves however as he took an early slender lead over rival Sam Moffatt, and held it through to the finish.

“It was a very good weekend and we are very pleased with the result,” said Alastair. “It was hard work and a big pace all weekend but it was good to come out on top in the end. We took the lead on the first stage and even though over the first two days we were never more than 10 or 12 seconds ahead, but we held our nerve. There was only one or two seconds between us on most stages and then we moved clear a bit on Sunday. It was very rewarding to get on the podium and especially to get second.”

The result of the R5 battle was still in doubt with five stages remaining, but on the legendary Atlantic drive stage, in changeable weather conditions, Fisher posted the fastest overall time to more than double his seven second advantage over Moffatt.

“We had a very good run on Atlantic Drive,” he said. “We were confident in our notes and the car was going well so we went for a bit of a push and thankfully it paid off. When we set off the first few corners clicked and felt really good, and we pushed on from there to the end of the stage. We didn’t really focus on catching Garry but it was just where we found ourselves when we were trying to stay ahead of Sam. On the last stage everything felt good and thankfully we took ten out of Garry and that was enough to clinch second.”

The points haul takes Alastair to within 7.5 points of Sam Moffatt in the series, and with one dropped score taken into account he looks in an even stronger position with just the Ulster Rally and Cork 20 Rally remaining.

William Mavitty went into his first ever Donegal Rally looking to extend his lead in the Group N Irish Tarmac Championship, but the tough event took its toll on his Mitsubishi. “It wasn’t the best weekend I could have planned for,” admitted William. “The car had engine problems and we had to stop on Saturday when we were third in Group N and beating the other guys for championship points. It was a disappointing weekend but we will get the car sorted a get ready to battle again in Ulster. I’m still leading the championship but it’s tight now I can’t afford anymore misfortune.”

Ruari McGarrity was another local driver competing on his first Donegal Rally with brother Martin McGarrity, and he returned home with third place in class 11f.