An unprecedented number of World Rally Championship stars turned out at the Rallye de España last week to support the Richard Burns Foundation and Michael Park Fund, as the annual Rally Travel auction broke its own fund-raising record.
The event raised over €4000 for the two charities, as teams generously donated signed rally memorabilia and other items, as well as making their drivers available to mix with a crowd of over 300 fans. Reigning WRC champ Sebastien Loeb, current championship leader Mikko Hirvonen and fans' favourite Petter Solberg all attended the event in Salou, which has been benefiting the Richard Burns Foundation since 2006.
“There is so much bad news in motorsport at the moment that it is great to have an event like this that all the drivers turn out for and are so willing to contribute their time to," Rally Travel's David Hutchison said, "All of the top guys were there and prepared to give up their time for nothing, so it's a real feel good story.”
One of the biggest sums bid on the night was for Stobart VK M-Sport Ford driver Henning Solberg's front wing, used at this year's Rally Australia. Eventually reaching over €300, the piece went to a bidder from Sweden, who was among international fans from as far afield as China and South Africa. Among the other items attracting high bids were Petter Solberg's signed boots and the gloves worn by BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Jari-Matti Latvala on his way to victory at this year's Rally d'Italia Sardegna.
The event was hosted by WRC TV's Julian Porter, with the drivers pitching in to help move the bidding along and to answer questions from the crowd, who each made a donation to the charity in order to be there.
“We are very grateful for the continued support of Rally Travel in organising this fantastic event each year," Richard Burns Foundation administrator Peter Martin concluded, "It is overwhelming to see the number of rally fans who have turned out and contributed to the total raised.
"It also speaks volumes for the high esteem in which both Richard Burns and Michael Park were held in the rally community that all of the leading drivers were prepared to take the time to be at the event just hours before the rally started - and that the teams were so generous in donating items for the auction.”