by Rob Wilkins
TO HEAR THE INTERVIEW IN FULL WITH RUSSELL BROOKES: CLICK HERE
1977 and 1985 British Rally champion, Russell Brookes was at the recent Castle Combe Rallyday in the UK and he reckons Mikko Hirvonen
will only be able to beat Sebastien Loeb
and win the 2008 WRC drivers' title if he avoids 'pussyfooting around'. Crash.net Radio
asked the questions...
Russell, what have you made of this year's Rallyday?
The weather has made it. The sun is absolutely brilliant. It is a beautiful day and the sun has really drawn the crowds out. There is a brilliant atmosphere and it is very friendly. It is great to see people I have met many times in the past in rallying and good to be reunited with some of the old rally cars.
How important are events like this?
I think it is very important and it brings all the branches of the sport together. You have got people who were rallying cars in the early 1960s with their cars here. You have got current WRC people with their WRC cars. You have got Rally Raid cars and you have got stunt cars - absolutely everything. It is a great petrol heads day out.
You have been on track - do you enjoy getting back behind the wheel and driving?
Yes I do. I feel a bit rusty on occasions, but I was reunited with the Talbot Sunbeam Lotus I drove on the 1981 RAC Rally. We don't say much about that because I put it in a ditch and stayed there permanently! Also I drove the Opel Manta 400 which I won the championship with in 1985 and then used later to win the 1987 Welsh International before it was sold by General Motors to a museum in Switzerland.
Are there any of the current cars that you would like to try?
I'd love to try a WRC car - or even better one of the current Rallycross cars. The acceleration is phenomenal apparently with these Rallycross cars - and I was talking to a couple of the guys and they reckon they do 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds. That has got to be mind blowing.
Mikko Hirvonen is the headline act today at the Rallyday. He is currently battling with Sebastien Loeb
for the 2008 title. Have you got any words of advice for him?
Go for it – it is the only thing to do. There is no way you will win a championship like that by pussy footing around and I am sure he will be trying as hard as he can.
There are four events left in the WRC and forty points up for grabs. He is only 8 points behind. Can he do it? Is it still open?