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Dickson delight in Donegal

Ashley Dickson revving up the leaderboard

Ashley Dickson revving up the leaderboard

WHILE Gary Jennings produced a near faultless performance to claim a second victory in the Joule Donegal International Rally, the prestigious weekend event proved something of a mixed bag for the Tyrone contingent.

As expected highest local finisher was Omagh’s Seamus Leonard and co-driver John McCafferty who brought Gary McKinstry’s Subaru WRC home in sixth place overall.

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To most that will go down as a creditable performance, however, given Leonard has recorded podium finishes in recent times the Omagh man, who had ambitions of winning the coveted title, will be somewhat disappointed.
The same can’t be said of Ashley Dickson and his sidekick Tommy Hayes who steered their Mitsubishi Evo 9 to a superb12th place finish in their first international rally.

Following a few mishaps in the opening stages of both the Circuit of Ireland and the Tour of the Sperrins, the Drumquin driver was determined to make a solid start to launch his assault. That he did and while many of Dickson’s rivals crashed or suffered mechanical failure, he maintained a strong pace on Saturday to position himself third in the group going into the final day.

The retirement of Dara Leonard saw the double act promoted to second and despite ever-changing conditions, Dickson and Hayes brought their car home safe and sound 12th overall.

Reflecting on his remarkable international debut Dickson paid tribute to his team.

“The car was prepared and maintained by Gerry McGarrity at McGarrity Motorsport,” he said.

“Gerry has been a good friend for many years and I get a lot of support from him and his mechanics Dermot O’Hagan and Damian Corry. It also helps to justify the advertising spend – the car is sponsored and supported by Dickson & Co Insurance Brokers.

”We’ve now finished first in Group N on last year’s Circuit of Ireland National Rally, second in Galway and this year we finished third on the Circuit National. Second in our first international rally is another good achievement.”

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FULL REPORT IN THIS WEEK’S ULSTER HERALD

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