Fred Gallagher : «I think we have the best team in the business»

Photo: Rally the Globe

Is two years a lot or a little? It depends, of course, on which side you look at, but we know for sure that the organizers of retro-rallies know the value of time like no one else in the world, and Rally the Globe Sporting Director Fred Gallagher is no exception. About the difficulties of preparing for rallies, a continent still to conquer and much more — in a festive interview for AutoClassicNews.

-You have come to the classic cars rally from classic racing rally. How difficult was it to get used to this field?

-Not really as I always have been interested in old cars and owned some.

-How long did it take you to be promoted to the position of rally director? Was it expected then?

-I started as Rally Director! That was with another company in 2015.

-Let’s speak about your work exactly. How much time usually passes between coming up with an idea of a rally and its implementation?

-In a perfect world two and a half to three years but COVID means we have to be more flexible.

-What are the criteria that your team follow when you add new events into the calendar?

-They must be appealing to competitors and realistic to organize.

-How many of you are normally involved in making up the route?

-Usually just the route planner and driver. Sometimes I put together a route with maps and Google and someone else does the recce.

-Do you practice following other companies from your field in order to analyse their routes and the approach to the work?

-Not at all! I think we have the best team in the business.

-Now we would like to discuss the issue about mechanics and photographers who take part in rallies. Do you get a new team of those specialists for every new event or do you try to keep the same set in most cases?

-We try to keep the same.

-Can you say, probably, based on your own example, what problems organizers of rallies come across during preparations and holding the races?

-Getting permissions from police and authorities is the one aspect I really don’t enjoy. There are various ways to achieve this and luckily I have a great bunch of contacts, not least in Russia, since my days in WRC and on FIA Commissions.

-Have you ever had to experience a failure when you did not manage to hold a previously planned rally due to some bureaucratic obstacles?

-Never. Long may it continue like that…..

-Do you remember the most difficult rally you had to arrange? If you want your events to be perfect each one is difficult.

-Rally the Globe’s first event was Carrera Iberia so the pressure was enormous and on our African event the roads were in very bad condition after unseasonable rain. Both were very well received however.

-Does your team usually work on your possible mistakes during events or does this discussion take place afterwards?

-We try to address any issues immediately on the event if we can make a difference. If not we discuss when we have the post-event debrief.

-And our final question. Is there still a route (or, maybe, a country / a continent) that attracts your attention but you cannot make it a part of a rally behind some reasons?

-Antarctica! I have rallied in all the other continents.