Letterkenny-based Divers Hyundai will support Robert Barrable as he contests the only three-day event in the 2017 Clonakilty Blackpudding Irish Tarmac Championship, the Joule Donegal International Rally (16-18 June), in his New Generation i20 R5.
Divers Hyundai was founded 30 years ago in Derrybeg, before moving shortly afterwards to Letterkenny. It was initially a Renault franchise, quickly establishing itself as one of the best-known retailers in the country. It changed its focus to Hyundai in 1997 – which at the time was new and little known, but which has since developed into Ireland’s fastest growing car brand.
The Divers Hyundai support will be illustrated in a fantastic new colour scheme on the i20 R5 – in which Rob will make his first four-wheel drive appearance at Donegal in. The 29-year old Dublin driver has only contested Donegal twice before – making his debut there in 2009 in a Ford Fiesta ST and returning the following year in a Citroën C2 R2. That will mean Rob will need a very good recce and perfect pace notes from co-driver Damien Connolly on such unfamiliar roads, whilst some of the stages – including the famous Atlantic Drive test – will be attempted this year for the very first time.
On only his third rally in the Hyundai i20 R5, Rob is up for the new challenge of Donegal and keen to strengthen his position in the Irish Tarmac Championship. At the mid-way point, he is fourth in the points standings, just one point behind Joseph McGonigle (ŠKODA Fabia R5) and 17 points behind leader Sam Moffett (Ford Fiesta) with three rounds remaining.
Robert said: “Being the only three day event in the Irish Tarmac Championship makes Donegal a very big event in more ways than one. You need to have a bit more of a sensible approach to give yourself the best chance of reaching the finish, but like all rallies in Ireland you don’t want to waste too much time at the start feeling your way in, so you also need to be fairly quick out of the box. We’ll test the Hyundai before the event to continue to fine-tune the set-up for the Irish roads. After West Cork and Killarney, I feel we’re making good progress with the i20 R5. The more we drive it the better the car is, and we hope that our hard work will pay off over the famous Donegal stages like Knockalla, Fanad Head and Atlantic Drive. The aim in Donegal is to be competitive, and if we can do that throughout the event, then there is every chance of a very good result. “I’d like to thank the Letterkenny dealership Divers Hyundai for coming on board to support us. It’s extra incentive to put on a good performance to show our appreciation.”
Organised by Donegal Motor Club, the 44th Donegal International Rally is based at the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny and contains 20 special stages totalling approximately 300 kilometres over bumpy, twisty, lightning fast and narrow Tarmac lanes. The route goes from the fabled Knockalla coast road, to the lush green farmlands of Carnhill and onto the wide open bog land landscape of Glen – making it one of the toughest challenges in the Irish rally calendar.