Letterkenny’s Marty Gallagher and co-driver Dean O’Sullivan from Convoy, Co. Donegal embarked on an epic Austrian adventure, overcoming incredibly challenging conditions at the Rallye Waldviertel in their Peugeot 208 R2 to finish a superb second in the FIA European Rally Trophy Juniors and second in European Rally Trophy 3 results. It was an epic showing for the Donegal duo, and the McConnell Motorsport team as they arrived to a heroes welcome at the St Pölten finish after two tough days of International competition.

Marty and Dean’s performances in the FIA Celtic Trophy qualified them for the FIA European Rally Trophy shoot-out event this season after finishing in the top three in category on the West Cork Rally, Killarney Rally of the Lakes, Donegal, Ulster and Manx events. The team then set off on a 4508 kilometre round trip to Austria for what was an all new challenge on a different type of terrain.

When they got there over one hundred and sixty kilometres of stages lay ahead over two legs, with challenges all the way! “One minute we could be on smooth tarmac, then gravel, mud, or a mixture of both. It took time to get used to high speeds on the tarmac sections using a gravel type of tyre and the continual surface changes. It’s been brilliant though, and brilliant experience for myself and Dean in many regards. From pacenote experience to driving the car with continually changing road conditions, and even thick fog. Thanks to everyone’s hard work and support we came out with a great result, and we are unbelievably happy” said Marty.

The first leg presented little problem for the crew in the Campsie Karting Centre Peugeot 208 R2, ending it thirty-first overall and recording one stage time faster than experienced ERC class rival Filip Mareš from the Czech Republic in his similar 208. After the first two stages on day two Marty and Dean dropped over twenty seconds to their class rivals after a connection in the coil pack came loose halfway through the first stage, a fault soon rectified at the end of the test.Then thick fog descended for the longest stage of the event, the crew wisely taking it steadily, climbing to 28th overall, but Filip Mareš was now well ahead. “We could barely see the end of our bonnet, and it was very hard to read the road, but we survived it. We knew a class win was out of the question at this stage but also knew we could make the finish with a top three class result, which was more than we expected.”

Barring a couple of over-shoots there were no more dramas in this International event for the pair, whose mature and well-paced drive ensured they finished 28th overall, second in the European Rally Trophy Juniors and ERT3 categories. A proud result for the young pair who are thankful of additional support from DMG Motors, Nutt Travel, Donegal Daily, Visit Derry, and Donegal Car Breakers for the epic trip. Another nice touch were the Rallying for Down Syndrome Awareness stickers proudly displayed on the car throughout it’s European adventure.

It’s a fitting finale to what has been a season of great promise shown by the Donegal crew, who are looking ahead to the BRC and Irish Tarmac series again in 2017.

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