Citroen's Paul Nagle on how to be a winning rally co-driver
Source : Citroen's Paul Nagle on how to be a winning rally co-driver
No one likes taking orders, however the ones Paul Nagle gives Kris Meeke helped the pair to seize a famous victory on Rally Finland recently
Paul Nagle, the WRC co-driver to Citroën’s Kris Meeke, spoke to Autocar about the challenge of rally co-driving.
the item takes a special kind of driver to win Rally Finland, in addition to the item takes a special kind of navigator to sit alongside him, coolly delivering the pace notes which tell the driver exactly what level of speed in addition to commitment to take into the next tree-lined corner.
Disaster could be one misread pace note away, yet the navigator’s contribution can be often overlooked, which can be precisely why Kris Meeke made a point of crediting his co-driver, Paul Nagle, after the pair won on the super-fast Finnish gravel roads in August.
Meeke in addition to Nagle are late bloomers within the globe Rally Championship, however having snagged which elusive first victory in their Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team Citroën DS 3 in Argentina last year, they have added two more wins This particular season. Finland was the most significant, because they led via the front on an event which few non-Nordic drivers have won.
“Finland was definitely the biggest win of our career,” says Nagle. “To dominate within the way we did can be very special. The event can be all about pure speed.”
None can be quicker than the daunting Ouninpohja special stage, 20 miles of flat-out blind jumps in addition to flowing corners on a loose gravel surface. The average speed on the route can be the brave side of 80mph in addition to the organisers chose to run the stage within the opposite direction This particular year.
Meeke in addition to Nagle completed the test in a whisker over 15 minutes in addition to then went even quicker within the afternoon’s second run.
“There was a lot of work in places,” says Nagle. “Some sections are very fast in addition to Kris’s pace notes are pretty detailed in addition to complex. To believe within the pace notes in addition to my timing was very important. I couldn’t get too far ahead of Kris [within the notes] because the item can be all blind crests. which was a big challenge.”
Meeke in addition to Nagle had to go into maximum attack mode because they had Volkswagen’s local star, Jari-Matti Latvala, breathing down their necks. A fastest stage time for the Citroën crew helped to break the Finn’s challenge.
“We knew Jari-Matti could come at us with everything in addition to which stage defined who was going to win the rally,” says Nagle. “which night in bed, I watched the onboard back in addition to the item looked faster than I thought the item was at the time. I thought to myself: ‘Did I actually call all of those pace notes?’ in addition to at some points, I was watching the video thinking: ‘Do we even get around This particular corner?’”
Meeke in addition to Nagle are contesting only a handful of rallies during 2016 as Citroën focuses on developing its 2017 contender. They are leading the test work, jumping via the outgoing car to the fresh-for-2017 C3.
The busy schedule means their partnership can be more tightly fused than ever. “We probably know what annoys each different very quickly!” says Nagle, laughing. “If you are co-driver for Kris Meeke, you have to be prepared to work because he puts in a huge amount of work. the item comes naturally right now because we all want the same result.”
For Nagle, born into a rally-mad family in County Kerry, pursuing his dream has meant an enormous amount of personal sacrifice. Even when they were winning the Intercontinental Rally Challenge with Peugeot in 2009, he was manically jugging his special stage exploits which has a full-time job at an electricity company in Ireland, negotiating time off in addition to sabbaticals via his very understanding employer. The security of three-year contracts inked in late 2015 has liberated both him in addition to Meeke to focus solely on the job in hand.
“He’s paid to drive the road in front of him in addition to I’m paid to call the pace notes,” says the 37-year-old. “We don’t worry about anything else in addition to we have a future, which was always the issue within the past.”
A fresh set of WRC technical regulations come into force next year, potentially resetting the order after four seasons of Volkswagen dominance. Citroën has high hopes of beating VW, however so do Hyundai, M-Sport/Ford in addition to newcomer Toyota.
“Our confidence can be high at the moment however we’re all in old cars right now,” says Nagle. “When we get to the first 2017 rally in Monte Carlo, everyone will be wondering who has done the best preparation. the item will be a huge year for Citroën in addition to our careers.”
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