by Rob Wilkins
Paddy Hopkirk is a British rallying legend, having won the Monte Carlo Rally back in 1964 in Mini Cooper.
caught up with Paddy at Silverstone recently, where he was promoting his book 'The Paddy Hopkirk Story - a dash of the Irish'
Here he talks about that book, as well as the current state of rallying and why he thinks upcoming Ulsterman Kris Meeke has the potential to go all the way.
We also have six signed copies to give away so stay tuned to Crash.net
and Crash.net Radio
for all the details on how you
could win a copy.
Paddy. You are obviously most well know for that Monte Carlo Rally win back in 1964, and I assume all that and more is documented in your new book, 'The Paddy Hopkirk Story - a dash of the Irish'
Yes well, it was quite a debate whether Haynes was going to do it or it not. Its not... it's more about my life and my family. I think it is called vanity publishing these days and I don't expect it to sell as well as Harry Potter! But, at least for my family and my grandchildren, it's a record of what their old granddad did.
It must have been amazing to win that event in the Mini Cooper?
I think the book will probably let some of the younger drivers today know how different it was then, in a lot of ways. It's mainly pictures - there are a lot of good pictures in the book that I don't think anybody has ever seen before. But, my god, it was a lot of work. Bill Price put it together with me and we have been working on it for four years now. Anyway, I'm glad it's done and it's nice to have done a book.
As you mentioned, there rallying has changed a lot over the years. What do you make of the World Rally Championship today?
Well, the WRC is wonderful - and there is no doubt that the cars go a lot faster, and stop a lot faster, and go around corners a lot faster [than we used to]. They are virtually, I suppose, Formula One cars with bodies on them to make them look like it's the car you buy in the showroom.
Our cars were much nearer to what you could
buy. They were beautifully prepared and hand built and every nut was checked, but they were much closer to what people could buy. But I think that is advancement and things have changed. I admire the guys of today very much.
I am actually involved in trying to get Ireland on the map as a WRC country, to hold a rally in 2007. We have got the Belfast and Dublin governments together to try and do a joint pitch for the rally to be held in Ireland. We are talking to [FIA president] Max Mosley and the people who make those decisions. It would be nice if my home country was back – well, not back in, because this would be the first time in the WRC - but they know a lot about running rallies over there and the background scenery would be quite different from the usual dusty things you get down in Cyprus, etc.
How realistic a prospect is a Rally Ireland?