Volkswagen signs O'Callaghan Irish tarmac rally specialist Liam O'Callaghan is to join the British Championship-leading Volkswagen team for the Ulster and Manx Internationals, it is confirmed today (Thurs). O'Callaghan, 29, will drive a third...
Volkswagen signs O'Callaghan
Irish tarmac rally specialist Liam O'Callaghan is to join the British Championship-leading Volkswagen team for the Ulster and Manx Internationals, it is confirmed today (Thurs).
O'Callaghan, 29, will drive a third full works-specification Golf GTI 16V in support of title-chasing Volkswagen regulars Alister McRae and Tapio Laukkanen on the twin events, the final rounds of the '97 Mobil 1 British Rally Championship.
Third overall in last year's Irish Championship, Kanturk-based O'Callaghan will bring vital tarmac experience to the Sony, Revolution Wheels and Pirelli-backed squad, says Steve Bagnall of Volkswagen's UK rally partner team SBG Sport.
"Liam is extremely quick and his addition to the Volkswagen team will be of enormous assistance to us," added Bagnall. "We're delighted to have him on board and hope that he will give us the edge as the championship reaches its climax."
McRae and his Golf GTI won the opening round of the British series, the Rally of Wales, in March, and Flying Finn Laukkanen claimed second place on last month's Pirelli International. As the team heads for next week's (Jun 6/7) Scottish International, McRae leads the drivers' championship and Volkswagen the manufacturers' title fight.
After a junior career in kart racing, O'Callaghan took up rallying in 1987 and has since gained much experience for his age in a wide variety of full-spec Group A cars. His successes include outright victory on last year's Galway Summer Rally and the West Cork Rally in 1994 and '96. This season he led both the Galway Rally and the Rally of the Lakes before mechanical problems halted his Toyota. Said Liam: "I'm really looking forward to joining Volkswagen and getting my hands on a proven winner. I guess it will take me a little while to get used to front-wheel drive again, but I think my prospects are good for the Ulster and the Manx..."
The Stena Line Ulster International takes place August 1/2, with the championship-closing Manx on September 11-13.
29.5.97 ---------- Nick Carter +44 (0)1530 811882 www.maxcom.demon.co.uk/vwrally.htm