The Irishman rallying is happy to welcome home

Having enjoyed a stellar, world rally-winning career, Irishman Paul Nagle is back in the sport from this weekend


Paul Nagle’s back. Or he’s back outside of Ireland. The five-time world rally winner packed his pacenote book away in Spain 2022. His only return to the co-driver’s seat was going to be alongside Craig Breen for their extra-curricular rallying fun.

When all of that changed, Nagle needed time to think on what he wanted from the sport in which he’s lived – and lives – his life.

Growing up he watched in admiration as his father Maurice bridged the gap between navigating and working in the organization of rallies. Now it’s Paul’s turn. This weekend marks the start of a new chapter for the Kerry man as he joins the FIA as a sporting delegate and observer on the European Rally Trophy opener, Portugal’s Rali Terras d’Aboboreira.

“This is something I’ve been thinking on for the last 12 or 18 months,” Nagle told DirtFish. “I’m still fairly current from my time as a co-driver and I’m up-to-speed with the latest generation of cars and regulations. When the opportunity came up, I was excited to have the chance to give something back to the sport and to move on a little bit for myself.

Nagle Spain 2022

Nagle waved goodbye to the World Rally Championship at Spain's penultimate round of the 2022 season

“I’ve worked as a tracking officer on some events in Ireland and I’ve a history of marshalling and working on the organization of rallies – obviously I worked with my Dad on Killarney [Historic Rally]. After co-driving, this side of the business was always more me than working in the logistics side of a team.”

Nagle, who competed at the sport’s highest level with Breen, Kris Meeke and Andreas Mikkelsen, will work on 10 of the 14 ERT rounds this season.

“It’s an interesting, 360-degree role,” he said. “We’re very much on the ground and solving any problems on the spot, working with the organizers. It’s a new challenge and one I’m really happy with.”

Being back out on international rallies hasn’t, however, tempted him back into the car.

WRC Rally Guanajuato México 09 - 12 March 2017

Winning the 2017 Rally México alongside Kris Meeke will remain one of Nagle's most memorable victories

He added: “The decision I made back in Spain a couple of years ago was 100% the right one. A lot has happened since then, obviously with Craig [Breen]… no, I’m good with this. To be honest, I’ve been in this sport a long time and one of the things I’ve really missed is the people and the friends I’ve made down the years.

“Don’t be asking me where this is taking me or anything like that. I don’t know what the next stop is. I’m just going with this one and seeing where it brings me.”

And wherever it brings him in rallying is fine by us. The sport needs the likes of Nagle and it’s great to have him home.