image1059360323.jpgHaving to sit next to Kris Meeke as he races through the stages of this year's IRC is perhaps not everybody's idea of a perfect job.

However, for Paul Nagle it is more than a job.

Paul, who is not a professional co-driver, joined Kris in the hot seat at the start of the Peugeot UK programme in 2009.

When he is not calling the pace notes for Kris, Paul can be found in his full-time job with an electricity company in Ireland.

He has a very understanding boss who allows him time off and his holidays to compete in the rallies. So, for Paul, life is either rallying or work.

He keeps fit between rallies by doing a lot of walking and running, as keeping a good fitness level helps keep him sharp. With temperatures inside the car in to the high 60s, like in Madeira, fitness is important.

On rallies we have a doctor with the team who helps Kris and Paul eat the right foods, but away from the team Paul is also careful that he maintains a healthy diet.

On a rally the fans always see the driver, but the co-driver has alot of tasks to complete even before the rally starts.

One of the key tasks is the recce, where the co-driver has a big part to play. Paul has to study and understand all the road books and maps so he knows exactly where they are going.

He is also the person who can tell you how to find stages ends, starts etc in the rally, and which are the best stages to watch.

When the rally kicks off, Paul leaves all the driving to Kris and just concentrates on getting a good rhythm going to call the notes. He also needs to be calm and clear and call exactly at the right time.

Spending so much time together it is important the driver and co-driver are friends, too. They will spend many weeks together and perhaps work together for 12 hours a day. They eat together and share the highs and lows together. It is, therefore, important that if they do have a disagreement, it is sorted out quickly.

The co-driver is also, in most cases, the driver's on-board mechanic, They will change wheels, check tyre temperatures, adjust pressures at stage ends etc..

A sucessful partnership, therefore, is very dependent on individual personalities.

Paul is Mr Cool during the rallies, where he only seems to have a few nerves on the last stages - especially when we are leading.

Paul is very happy just being the co-driver as, in his words, "If I ever tried to drive the way Kris does, the car would be on the roof pretty quickly into a stage!"

So, next time you watch a rally, don't forget to look out for the co-driver. They are the real boss of the car!

A few interesting facts on Paul:

What car do you drive?Peugeot 207 GTi THP 175

If a rally car had a complete set of dual controls, which ones would you be tempted to touch?The brakes, co-drivers are always looking for them at some point during the rally.

Do co-drivers get better with age, like a wine?Every rally I do I always learn something, but you cannot buy experience, so with age co-drivers do get better.

Should there be an upper age limit for co-drivers?No

If you could co-drive with any driver in rallying history, past or present, who would it be?Two people: Colin McRae and Ari Vatanen.

What is your short / medium term plans?Win the IRC in 2009.

What is your ultimate ambition?To stay at the top level of the sport as long as I can and I would love to win a World Championship.