France: Shaun Gallagher Rallying summary

Gallagher takes maiden 206 Cup victory. 22 year old Shaun Gallagher from Letterkenny secured victory in the Peugeot 206 Super Cup when he drove perfectly over the entire Le Touquet Rally in France this weekend. To win the event Shaun had to...

Gallagher takes maiden 206 Cup victory.

22 year old Shaun Gallagher from Letterkenny secured victory in the Peugeot 206 Super Cup when he drove perfectly over the entire Le Touquet Rally in France this weekend. To win the event Shaun had to battle with night stages, every changing weather conditions and the immense pressure placed on him by his opposition. However he did not let any of the pressures phase him and he lead the rally from start to finish to take his maiden victory in this notoriously competitive championship.

The rally began on Friday evening at 19:30 with two stages run in the dark. Shaun's night navigation experience came into play and he set two blisteringly quick times to take an 18 second lead in the 206 Super Cup. Not only was he leading the cup but Shaun was also a lying 16th overall and beating the top French Peugeot 206 by 7 seconds.

A sunny, dry morning greeted the crews when they arrived at parc ferme for the beginning of leg two. The second day was made up of three stages run twice finishing just before 20:00. Shaun and his team decided that a steady, consistent pace would be the best approach for the morning's trick opening stages and he maintained his lead perfectly. However, he suffered suspension problems on SS5 causing him to overshoot three times dropping 17 seconds to second place driver Gary Jennings.

The team solved this problem in service and Shaun set the fastest time on SS6 by over 6 seconds. Stages 8 and 9 saw him increase his lead over Jennings and he finished leg two 17 seconds in the lead lying 24th overall.

By the time the cars re-started on leg 3 the rain had started and the stages were treacherously slippy. Tyre decisions proved very difficult and Shaun chose a combination of slicks and intermediates for the opening stage but the rain worsened and he should have run on wets all round. Despite this Shaun set fastest stage times on the opening two stages increasing his lead to 35 seconds by the end of stage 11.

With three stages remaining Shaun was beginning to run out of new tyres because of the restrictions on the number of tyres that can be used per events. He was forced to use tyres that were already worn for SS12, which was 30 km long however he kept his lead over Jennings at 34 seconds. There were now two stages remaining and Shaun drove perfectly taking overall victory by 52 seconds.

Shaun finished 15th overall beating many of the French 206 Super Cup cars on their own soil. Victory for Shaun on this event ensures that the championship battle goes right down to the wire and will be fought out on the Michelin Tempest Stages on 26/27 October.

-sgr-

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Series Other rally