Rally Ireland taking note in Argentina Rally Argentina this coming weekend sees the welcome return of Ireland's only motorsport World Champion, Fermanagh's Niall McShea, to the World Rally Championship, with a co-driver who's been preparing a...
Rally Ireland taking note in Argentina
Rally Argentina this coming weekend sees the welcome return of Ireland's only motorsport World Champion, Fermanagh's Niall McShea, to the World Rally Championship, with a co-driver who's been preparing a different set of pace notes in recent months.
Rally Ireland Assistant Clerk of the Course Gordon Noble will navigate for McShea as the sixth round of the Championship kicks off in the River Plate soccer stadium in Buenos Aires before heading north to Cordoba province for three days of action on some of the highest stages in WRC.
Noble said: "It's great to get back in the car and do a WRC event. Having spent the last few months driving the stages for Rally Ireland and making sure we're putting together a top class event for November, I'm really looking forward to the busman's holiday!"
Also on hand to see how Argentina fare with the logistics of a split site for the Super Special Stage and Rally Headquarters will be Belfast native and Deputy Clerk of the Course Fred Gallagher. Transporting the world's top rallying talent and their vehicles from the start at Stormont in Belfast to Sligo's service park will be no mean feat, and one the team will be eager to observe.
Regular Irish WRC competitors Gareth MacHale and Shaun Gallagher will not be taking part in this weekend's event, as the MacHale team will be in action in the Rally of the Lakes in Killarney, home event for co-driver Paul Nagle. Argentina is not a round of the FIA Junior championship, so Gallagher will have a weekend off, secure in the knowledge he's still leading the race in the Rookie Championship eight clear points ahead of his closest rival, Spaniard Manuel Rueda.
The 27th Rally Argentina takes place over 22 stages in the three valleys of Cordoba, with reigning World Champion Sebastian Loeb of France seeking to secure a fourth successive victory for Citroen. Rivals in the BP Ford team headed by Marcus Gronholm (Finland) are coming out of a week's testing in Sardinia in their new 2007-spec Ford Focus WRC, so will likely be looking to put that practice to good use on the gravel stages. The new car is due to debut in Finland.
The M-Sport Stobart Ford team duo of Matthew Wilson and Michael Orr from Bangor, Co. Down, will be hoping that Argentina is as lucky for them as it was last year, when they picked up their first WRC championship points.