Galway International Rally 2007.
The Famous Marcus Gronholm entered the Rally of Galway in Ireland. After 2 stages the Finn had a win clearly in sight with a 19 second lead over Eugene Donnelly who closely followed him until on the second leg he found himself in a ditch. Gareth MacHale and Gronholm both entered in M-sport Focus displayed as much professionalism as they would in a WRC event. Gronholm/Rautianien found out for themselves how demanding the Irish stages could be when they went for a spin and then overshot a junction. On the seventh stage Gronholm clipped a rock, which punctured his tyre. The Finn lost his place to Donnelly who managed to get a firm 12 seconds ahead.

Marcus Gronholm Galway Source of Picture.

Gareth MacHale stalled on stage four and his father Austin got a puncture and some brake problems. English man Jon Igram got in a slippery situation after skidding on some mud and crashed into a wall. Also retired in a less dramatic way by snapping his crankshaft in two pieces was Tim McNulty. After stage four Gareth McHale was eighth and started to make a come back by slowly moving through the leader board. Mark Higgins claimed sixth place at the end of leg two but found it a challenging leg with many close calls.

Mark Higgins Galway Source of Picture.

Through the final leg on Sunday Eugene Donnelly was holding onto the smallest of leads but on stage 14 he stalled on the start line then car lost fourth gear on the road section. On stage 15 it all came to an end for the Irishman when he left the road and slipped into a ditch. Which left Marcus Gronholm to finish in first place.

Gareth MacHale Galway Source of Picture.

Gareth MacHale was in second place. Mark Higgins in a third took maximum points in the Global Group Irish Tarmac Championship. Fourth and Fifth went to two focus drivers Eamonn Boland and Kevin Lynch in that order. Stephen Murphy in sixth position who had a steady run in their Subaru with only minor mistakes causing them to be so far down the order they finished comfortably ahead of Patrick Elliot in seventh. Michael Barrable finished eighth in their self-sponsored Focus. Austin MacHale came ninth after their puncture cost them two minutes. Finishing in the top ten was Ray Breen in yet another Focus.

But who knows next year we may even get to see Loeb in Galway.

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