Three-time Donegal Rally winner Manus Kelly dies on 2019 event

Jason Craig
Defending winner dies on Donegal Rally

Irish rally driver Manus Kelly has died in an accident on the Donegal International Rally.

Kelly, the three-time defending winner of the rally, is understood to have lost control of his Hyundai i20 R5 on a bumpy part of the Fanad Head stage.

An impact is thought to have caused the car to get out of line before it crashed through a hedge and into a field.

Kelly's co-driver Donall Barrett was transferred from the scene of the accident to Letterkenny General Hospital where he is receiving treatment for his injuries.

The remainder of the event was cancelled, and an investigation has been launched by police to determine the exact cause of the accident.

The 41-year-old, picture competing on the West Cork Rally, was a popular figure and a highly-decorated driver. Aside from his three consecutive successes on the Donegal rally, Kelly was a regular in the Irish Tarmac Championship.

Donegal International Rally clerk of the course Eamon Magee described Kelly - who was recently elected onto Donegal County Council with the Fianna Fail party - as "a great ambassador" for rallying, and said the news of his death was "devastating".

A statement issued by Motorsport Ireland confirmed an investigation had been launched.

"The relevant authorities have begun a full investigation into the incident and will be assisted by Motorsport Ireland and Donegal Motor Club," it read.

"Motorsport Ireland and its affiliated clubs are recognised internationally for operating to the highest standards of motorsport safety for competitors and spectators in line with the best practices of the FIA."

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