2003 British Peugeot 206 Super Cup Champion, Shaun Gallagher and co-driver Richard Pashley were distraught as their debut on Wales Rally GB came to an abrupt ending after an electrical fault brought their car to a standstill on SS2.

The Billy Coleman Award winner started the rally on Thursday night and immediately after crossing the start ramp the gremlins kicked in when the starter motor failed.

They completed the Super Special hoping the car wouldn't stall and finished in 63rd position, a great improvement on a seeding of 123. However, on the way back to parc-ferme the charging light for the battery came on sparking more alarm bells.

Friday morning was clear and bright and the crew had the long drive to Felindre Service near Swansea - not a pleasant journey as the car started to misfire as well.

They changed the alternator and battery in the first 20-minute service and the optimistic service crew saw them on their way. But five miles from service the charging light came on again and the car stopped some twenty miles later. Pashley's mechanical background proved useful when they managed to get the car going again towards the first forest stage.

A few miles into the stage though and the car proved to be unmanageable when the engine started cutting out making corners difficult and slow as Gallagher couldn't trust the car, and it eventually ground to a halt as the battery drained resulting in retirement.

Further examination found a broken wire, which should connect the starter motor to the alternator that was the cause of the problem. It is ironic that it should happen today when the car has been most reliable all year and faultless in testing.

"It was obviously not to be," said Gallagher, "It's a shame we couldn't fix the problem and re-enter the rally tomorrow. The chances of this happening are one in a million. It's devastating. The car was good, we had fitted new suspension and I was so happy with the handling of the car. I would like to thank Skip Brown Cars and Dutton Forshaw, Cardiff for all their efforts to try to keep me in the rally. I will now be concentrating my efforts on my 2004 plans."

Peugeot Motorsport manager Mick Linford added: "Shaun has shown such commitment to his rallying this year and has been carefully planning his next step in the sport. He simply didn't deserve such a bitter ending to this event. I hope that all his bad luck has come at once now and he can go forward into 2004 with the superb reliability that he and the car have shown throughout this year."



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