24 September 2010
Rallyday marks tenth anniversary with 'Monster' line-up
Meanwhile, 1977 and 1985 British Rally Champion Russell Brookes, his co-drivers Mike Broad, John Brown, Paul White, Neil Wilson and Peter Bryant and his original sponsor John Andrews, were all there as part of a unique Andrews Heat for Hire Celebration. Spectators were able to view a range of the iconic cars which Brookes used during his successful long-term campaign, including one of his personal favourites, the Vauxhall Chevette HSR.
"I have been here many times and it is always a great event," said Brookes. "There are lots of exhibits, lots of cars on display and, of course, the action keeps moving both on the circuit and on the rally stage.
"We have gathered together ten of my original ex-works rally cars, all in Andrews Heat for Hire colours. It is very special display. It was a very iconic period in British rallying. The sponsorship deal was the longest-lasting commercial sponsorship deal there ever was in the sport. It is amazing to get these cars all together."
Fellow British Rally Championship winner Gwyndaf Evans was in attendance, too, along with his son, three-times Fiesta SportTrophy championship winner Elfyn Evans. The Gwyndaf Evans Motors display featured several rally cars campaigned by Gwyndaf over the years, including a Seat F2 and a Brooklyn Sierra Cosworth - plus Elfyn's latest Fiesta R2.
"I don't know where the ten years have gone since the inaugural Rallyday," said Gwyndaf. "But I think it draws more crowds every year. It is remarkable. Nobody is rushing to go anywhere. There are no clocks to be watching. It is a relaxing day and everybody seems to be very approachable. That is the key. It is a pleasure to be among enthusiasts."
Other stars at the event included Phil Mills (Petter Solberg's co-pilot until June this year); Phil Pugh (Guy Wilks' co-driver); Terry Kaby (Prodrive's WRC tester), Tom Cave (showing off the Proton S2000) and, of course, Rallyday host extraordinaire, 1972 RAC winning co-driver (with Roger Clark) and former Top Gear presenter Tony Mason.
"It is a tremendous record to think this is the tenth Rallyday and it is a privilege to have been to all ten of them," Mason said. "I have got some wonderful memories of this event and it is quite impressive when you think of all the people who have come here over the years.
"The organisers have achieved amazing things and having Jari-Matti Latvala here, for instance, is a tremendous thing. There is great attention to detail and they cram everything in."
Indeed, with Russ Swift entertaining the crowds as normal with his spectacular precision driving display, as well as the Strictly Sideways Competition and the Feature Stage, which commenced with a special parade of cars from the Richard Burns Foundation, spectators had a real treat. The RBF were at Rallyday raising money for the charity and had an incredible line-up of Richard's rally cars, which spanned the 2001 World Rally Champions' successful - but all too short - rallying career. The cars were driven in a parade by many of Richard's former colleagues, including Stig Blomqvist, who drove his championship-winning Subaru Impreza WRC.
McRae Vision had an extensive display, with fans getting the chance to see the 1995 World Rally Champions' original Ford Sierra Cosworth and the championship-winning Prodrive built GpA Impreza 555. There was also an opportunity to have a go on the latest Colin McRae Dirt 2 video game; the fastest player won a real white-knuckle ride on the Feature Rally stage.
BP Ford Abu Dhabi
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