McShea and Lloyd form two-car team for Argentina

Posted: May 9, 2003 7:10 PM - 5357 Hits

Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) has entered a two-car team in the next round of the World Rally Championship, Rally Argentina, which runs from May 7-10.

The brace of Mitsubishi Lancer E6s will be crewed by JLT director John Lloyd and his co-driver Pauline Gullick and Niall McShea and his co-driver Chris Patterson. Both cars will be prepared by New Zealand specialists Neil Allport Motorsport

Posted: May 9, 2003 7:10 PM

The event marks Lloyd and Gullick's first outing in the World Rally Championship this season, but he has contested Rally Argentina before, finishing 25th overall and 11th in the production car category in 2000.

"It is an event I have very fond memories of," said Lloyd. "The atmosphere there is unique, because the locals live for the rally and make sure everyone feels welcome, and it is an event I am particularly looking forward to doing again.

"The stages throw everything at you. There are smooth parts, rough parts and dusty parts and the weather can go through everything from fog and rain to bright sunshine and boiling hot temperatures. There are also some pretty incredible mountain passes which are high-speed tests of nerve - if I remember rightly the best thing to do when it all starts to come at you too quickly is to close your eyes and hold on!"

McShea and co-driver Patterson are registered contenders in the FIA World Production Cup Championship, an approved feeder category for the full World Rally Championship. The pair finished seventh on their first outing in the series, the New Zealand Rally, but believe that an even higher finish is possible in Argentina.

"Although it is the first time I have contested the event, I think a high points-scoring result will be possible if everything goes to plan," said McShea, 29. "New Zealand was only my second world event in a production car and I had a new co-driver, so I had a lot to learn. This time out, I think I can push a little bit harder. As I grow in confidence in my surroundings, so I can go that bit faster that bit more consistently."

Lloyd has invested in McShea's career in a bid to make him Britain's next World Rally Championship driver. He said: "Niall's result in New Zealand was credible and by setting three second fastest stage times he showed that he hasn't got far to go before he is on the winning pace. But for catching some slower cars in the stages in New Zealand and then suffering two punctures on the final day he could certainly have finished even higher up, so the plan has to be to try and blend that speed with consistency."

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