Paul Nagle’s impressive career as a World Rally Championship co-driver came to an end today as he and driver Craig Breen finished ninth overall on Rally Catalunya in Spain.
At the end of Saturday’s competition, the Irish duo were a stone’s throw from first place in seventh place, but they couldn’t follow that momentum over the four stages on Sunday.
Winner honors went to Toyota’s Sébastien Ogier, who finished 16.4 seconds ahead of Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and helped seal the constructors’ championship title for Toyota. Drivers’ champion Kalle Rovanpera completes the top three.
Nagle retired from the sport’s top tier on his 102nd WRC start, ending an 18-year career that saw him sit alongside Waterford man Breen and claim five WRC victories alongside Kris Meeke at Citroën, the last in Spain in 2017.
“I have two special men to thank,” Nagle said.
“First, the man next to me, who is like a brother to me, and Kris Meeke back in his Citroën days. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“Thank you to everyone at home, my wife and children and all the Irish people here this weekend.”
Other Irishmen in action included co-driver Aaron Johnston, who along with Japanese driver Takamoto Katsuta finished seventh, ahead of the two fastest Ford M-Sports – Adrien Fourmaux eighth and Breen and Nagle ninth.
Also competing were Josh McErlean and James Fulton, whose WRC2-class Hyundai i20 finished a respectable 21st overall and 11th in their qualifying group. Fulton, 31, will take Nagle’s place as Breen’s co-driver starting next month’s all-new asphalt Rally Japan.