A Great Start to the year for MacHale Irish competitors Gareth MacHale and Paul Nagle have finished an excellent 11th place in the World Rally Championship season opener in Monte Carlo this weekend. MacHale kicked off Thursdays stages in 14th...
A Great Start to the year for MacHale
Irish competitors Gareth MacHale and Paul Nagle have finished an excellent 11th place in the World Rally Championship season opener in Monte Carlo this weekend.
MacHale kicked off Thursdays stages in 14th place, but posted the eleventh fastest time on the St. Pierreville stage, 2.1 seconds ahead of Subaru's Petter Soldberg, to move up to 12th overall, a position he retained until Saturday evening. An understeer and collision with a stone wall on the penultimate stage then caused Finnish competitor Jari-Matti Latvala to lose valuable time, allowing MacHale and Nagle to move up the ranking.
The pair took to the roads of the Ardeche region of France, the Rally's new home this year, in their 2003 Ford Focus WRC, which ran perfectly all weekend, seeing the pair beat off stiff competition from a number of other privateer teams.
"Monte Carlo has a reputation as being the best and most challenging tarmac round in the Championships for competitors, so we were keen to move up the rankings from 16th on last year's event and this finish has been an excellent result," said MacHale. "I have no doubt, though, that the top WRC teams will regard Ireland as the best, most challenging tarmac round come Rally Ireland WRC in November!"
The team will unveil their new 2006 Ford Focus WRC, jointly prepared by M-Sport and Tom Gahan, in advance of the Galway International Rally the first weekend of February and were confident that it would be onwards and upwards as the season progressed. MacHale said: "Obviously it'll take a little time getting used to the left hand drive and getting the feel of the car, but given that it's three years newer that what we're in, we're hoping it gives us an edge to continue improving throughout the season."