Friday, 20 April 2018

“Incredible” rally for Hall in Paraguay

“Incredible” rally for Hall in Paraguay

Phil Hall in action
Phil Hall was in line for victory in Paraguay
- Image credit ML Photosport  - Click to download high res version. -

Just days after tackling round two of the Junior World Championship in Corsica, British co-driver Phil Hall made the mammoth trip to Paraguay last week to compete in the Super Rally del Nanduti alongside Skoda Fabia R5 pilot Miguel Garcia.

The newly formed duo would have a dream start to the tough event, leading overall until a damaged radiator demoted the Saba Competición run Skoda back to fourth, narrowly missing out on a podium spot in the searing heat of the event near the country's capital, Ascuncion.

The Mansfield based 29 year old has committed to an extensive programme alongside fellow Brit Tom Williams in the Junior World Rally Championship but when time allows, Hall will also compete on selected events across the world in an effort to broaden his already extensive rallying CV.

He would have little time to prepare for his debut event in South America however. Fresh from another successful outing in the JWRC, Hall had only just finished contesting the tricky mountainous asphalt roads of the infamous Tour de Corse and would only be able touchdown briefly in the UK before making the trans-Atlantic trip and step into a very different car, terrain and country.

Hall in action
Conditions were tough as the searing heat and dust made the going difficult
- Image credit ML Photosport  - Click to download high res version. -

Garcia has only recently switched to the sport of Rallying after contesting a significant circuit racing programme in the United States. His transition to the Skoda Fabia has been a successful one, taking third overall in the national series on his debut in the marque.

Hall was recruited to sit alongside the talented youngster and the itsmymotorsport.com backed co-driver was eager to sample the savannas and scrubland and unique conditions that the Paraguay event would offer whilst competing in a leading car and team for the event.

After a positive pre-event test to settle into his new surroundings, Hall would need to quickly adapt to the unique nature of the stages in event. The dusty and sandy surface would be a marked contrast to the smooth asphalt of the week previously in Corsica, but Hall was looking forward to the challenging event.

It would get off to the best possible start, with a string of fastest times in the searing heat they held the lead overall at the halfway point. Hall would need to put all his experience to good use and ensure they could make the most of their lead into the afternoon loop.

Sadly a time consuming spin would drop them off the top spot and in the quest to make up time, the Fabia endured a damaged radiator after a heavy landing on the final stage. Nursing the car to the end, Hall guided Garcia to fourth overall by the time they crossed the finish ramp.

Nevertheless Hall was elated with the performance during the weekend.

“That was such an incredible rally, I thought that my experience in Mexico last month may help with the transition to rallying here in Paraguay but the stages are very unique and nothing like I’ve experienced before" said Hall.

"The heat in the car is just intense as well. It was that hot in there the adhesive on the foot pedal grips were starting to melt so as you can imagine it took a lot out of you. Add to that the impressive pace of Miguel’s driving and it makes for a very tough but enjoyable event."

"It’s great to see we were setting the pace early on but that spin and then heavy landing really did cost us dearly. That said, it was well worth the trip and I`d really like to come back for another chance at taking the top step of the podium in the future”.

Hall will now turn his attentions to the next round of the Junior World Championship in Portugal alongside Williams in May.

 Phil Hall
Hall at work - Image credit M-Sport/JWRC - Click to download high resolution image -