Irish Driver Mixes With Frances Best Tarmac Specialists Shaun Gallagher and new co-driver Gerard Callaghan made the long journey to Castes for round five of the French Peugeot 206 Cup, the Rallye Montagne Noire this weekend and took on the...
Irish Driver Mixes With Frances Best Tarmac Specialists
Shaun Gallagher and new co-driver Gerard Callaghan made the long journey to Castes for round five of the French Peugeot 206 Cup, the Rallye Montagne Noire this weekend and took on the unique challenge of the tarmac rounds of South France.
The eleven stages, run in the mountains around Castres and Mazamet, can only be described as similar to those of Monte Carlo. They were also fast and flowing in places and wide enough for two-way traffic.
The opening stages of the rally were run on Friday night in the dark and first and fore most Shaun adjusted to competing with a new co-driver. The stages were damp, making tyre choice difficult however Shaun soon settled in and was lying 16th overall after the opening day against some of Frances best tarmac specialists.
The crews awoke to blistering sunshine on Saturday morning and the temperatures were already in the high twenties at the start of the first stage. Shaun knew that he would suffer because of this later in the day.
The opening stage was 18km long and on cold tyres at a square left with gravel Shaun went off and lost 40 seconds moving him back seven places. However he did not let this hamper him and began his move up the leader board making up five places in two stages.
By early afternoon the temperatures were well into the thirties. The second loop of three stages was basically trouble free apart from the heat and carrying too much fuel and the Mullen Express Transport team jumped from 18th to 12th position.
By the third run the corners were beginning to get very cut up and gravel that had been pulled out by competitors was making it very difficult for Shaun to commit to the apex of the corner but he was still taking every cut that he possibly could without damaging the car.
At the end of eleven difficult stages and after one of the tightest rally's of this years championship Shaun battled against forty three other Peugeot 206's and finished the event 12th in the Peugeot Cup.
"I really enjoyed that rally," commented Gallagher "We really got to experience so many things on the one event, we had night stages, really hot weather and fantastic roads to compete on. I couldn't ask for a better place to learn"