Gallagher on course for World Title Donegal Driver takes Lead in Junior World Rally Championships(JWRC) Rookie Title Fight Ireland's Shaun Gallagher finished Rally Norway this weekend first in his class, picking up a coveted Junior World ...
Gallagher on course for World Title
Donegal Driver takes Lead in Junior World Rally Championships(JWRC) Rookie Title Fight
Ireland's Shaun Gallagher finished Rally Norway this weekend first in his class, picking up a coveted Junior World Championship point, and is leading in the Rookie category, setting the stage for an exciting Championship year. The Donegal driver was partnered by Welshman Clive Jenkins.
Despite an initial poor tyre choice on Leg 1, Saturday and Sunday saw Gallagher keep a steady pace in his Citroen whilst other competitors continued to struggle with the ice and snow of the Norwegian stages. He was delighted with his eighth place finish, but more so with finishing within the points. "I achieved my objective this weekend by securing a place on the leader board. As I get used to the car over the course of the Championship, I hope to move up the rankings and pick up more points along the way with the ultimate aim of securing the Rookie of the Year title. This is a great start to the year," he said.
The JWRC Opening round was won by Sweden's Per Gunnar Andersson in a Suzuki Swift with fellow countryman Patrick Sandell in second and Estonian's Urmo Aava in third. World Rally Team Ireland owner, Tommy Mullen, said: "We're very happy to finish in the points and are making plans for the next round in Portugal at the end of March.
In the WRC competition in Norway, problems with the ice and snow resulted in the top teams driving their own rallies for a finish. BP Ford World Rally Team duo Mikko Hirvonen and Marcus Gronholm, both from Finland, held first and second places going into the final leg. Three and a half minutes behind them in third and fourth were Norwegian brothers Petter Soldberg (Subaru) and Henning Soldberg (Ford). Current World Champion Sebastian Loeb (France) had a disastrous rally, going off the road twice in Leg 2 and the resulting time delays dropping him to 16th overall and out of points contention.
This weekend saw Norway's debut in the World Rally Championships and given the gap of over fourteen minutes in the top ten finishers, there were problems aplenty for competitors in coming to grips with the unfamiliar terrain. Rally Ireland, which makes its entry into the Championships in November this year, will doubtless prove a much more straightforward transition, albeit onto the unfamiliar and sometimes unpredictable tarmac of the north-west.
Rally Ireland WRC will take place from 15th -- 18th November 2007.