Donegal’s Shaun Gallagher has won the Rookie of The Year title in the World Rally Championship at this weekend’s Rally Catalunya. Shaun said; “This is a dream come true. To compete in the World Rally Championship has always been my goal and to take the Rookie of the year title just puts such a fabulous gloss to the season for me. And to have a chance to compete in the World Rally Championships in my own country, in my own county when Rally Ireland comes to the North-west in November will just make this such a special year.”
Sligo Business man Tommy Mullen, Team Principal of World Rally Team Ireland and Manager of the Letterkenny rally-ace is delighted with what Shaun and the team have achieved. “The intention was to develop an Irish team and an Irish driver to enable participation on the highest level of this most prestigious international competition, and that is what we have done. Shaun was the perfect man for the job and his determination to win has been amazing. Every team member contributed 100 percent to this victory and of that I am very proud,” he said.
Minister of State Pat The Cope Gallagher said that Shaun’s achievements served to put Irish motorsport firmly on the world map.
“I’m delighted to congratulate Shaun on this achievement. With his success this season and Rally Ireland bringing the best in the world of motorsport to the northwest next month, we are building a worldwide reputation for talent and enthusiasm that showcases Ireland in such a positive and dynamic light to the world.”
Amongst the first to congratulate Gallagher was Irish Formula One supremo Eddie Jordan, Chairman of Rally Ireland Management, who said: “It’s a great achievement for Shaun and the team to have done so well in this, their first year in the World Rally Championship and I wish them well for the future.”
It was at Rallye Deutchland in August that Shaun stretched his lead to 18 points in his Citroen C2R2, which left him needing to secure just three points in Rally Catalunya to take home the ‘Rookie Of The Year’ title, adding to his impressive collection of silverware consisting of The French junior 206 volant championship, the British 206 cup and The Billy Coleman Award for the most promising up and coming young driver.
Overall the top 15 are as follows:
1st. S. Loeb C4
2nd. D. Sordo C4
3rd. M. Grönholm Focus (Mk2)
4th. M. Hirvonen Focus (Mk2)
5th. F. Duval Xsara
6th. P. Solberg Impreza (..
7th. J. Latvala Focus (Mk2)
8th. C. Atkinson Impreza (..
9th. X. Pons Impreza (..
10th. H. Solberg Focus (Mk2)
11th. M. Wilson Focus (Mk2)
12th. T. Schie Focus (Mk1)
13th. F. Villagra Focus (Mk2)
14th. K. Al Qassimi Focus (Mk2)
15th. P. Andersson Swift
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