From school teacher to hero of Monte-Carlo
Although they may look like you and me, Isabelle Galmiche has the uncanny talent of interpreting both.
The math teacher put aside her day job for a week to partner with the most successful rally driver in history at Rallye Monte-Carlo last weekend. And won.
Two days after becoming the first woman to stand on the top step of the WRC podium since Fabrizia Pons at the same rally in 1997, Galmiche was back ahead of her students. They had a little shock.
“I was pretty quiet at school and didn’t say much to the students before the event, so I think they’ll be quite surprised when they see me again,” she told WRC. .com as she celebrated on a sunny Port Monegasque day.
His rallying career dates back to 1995. But while Loeb has won nine world titles and 81 WRC victories, Galmiche’s 228 career starts included just six in the WRC before last weekend. None of these were at the highest level.
So how does a math teacher become an overnight sensation by winning one of motorsport’s classics?
“After Daniel [Elena, Loeb’s former co-driver] decided to stop the rally, Séb called me to ask me if I wanted to join him for Monte-Carlo. Naturally, I immediately said yes,” she explained.
“I did a lot of test sessions with him with Citroën and Hyundai when Daniel was unavailable, but this was our first real rally together – and what an incredible result.
“It’s a dream come true. It was already a dream to take part in the Rallye Monte-Carlo alongside Séb in such a good car, but to win, there is nothing better. What a crazy story!”
Loeb’s fight with his tough opponent Sebastien Ogier on the first rally of the new hybrid era made for a memorable Monte. Incidentally, Pons’ victory alongside Piero Liatti 25 years ago came at the first event of the World Rally Car generation – the hybrid’s predecessor.
The lead changed hands three times before a puncture on Ogier’s penultimate stage gave Loeb and Galmiche an advantage they clung to in the final test in M-Sport Ford’s new Puma.
And Loeb’s verdict on Galmiche’s performance?
“This car is really difficult for the co-driver and she had a lot to say, but she had perfect pace and understands how to do it very well,” he enthused.
“There are a lot of things to check. She has a lot of experience in the French championship, but in the WRC you have a lot more to do around [the car]. She did a great job.
Just in case you were wondering, the formula for calculating the area of a cylinder is SA=2πrh+2πr2.