20 August 2012
Solberg thrills at Rallyday 2012
Hollywood puts in an 'Oscar' winning performance at Castle Combe as the rally world makes its annual pilgrimage to the West Country
Rallyday marked its twelfth edition in style at the weekend with 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg pulling out all the stops to give the fans a truly memorable day at Wiltshire's Castle Combe Circuit, home of the UK's Premier Rally Car Show.
Solberg is one of the most popular and flamboyant characters in the WRC, and visitors were left in no doubt as to why he is known affectionately as Hollywood, as he performed dozens of crowd-pleasing donuts in his Castrol Edge sponsored Ford World Rally Team Fiesta RS WRC car.
The Norwegian, who was one of a plethora of stars from the rallying world in attendance and who was making his Rallyday debut, was mobbed wherever he went, and he stayed right to the very end to bring the curtain down on another hugely successful edition of the annual show.
“This is a fantastic event and there is a lot of people here and a lot of nice cars,” said the 37-year-old and veteran of more than 150 WRC events. “I must say I fit in very well because I love cars and there are some very, very special ones here.
“The fans at Rallyday have a lot of passion too and that is why it is very enjoyable. I have been signing I don't know how many autographs, but it is great, and I loved going out on track in the Fiesta RS WRC Car - just give me a steering wheel and some power and I will do my job!”
Petter was on hand too, to announce the winner of the Castrol Edge Search for a Rally Star competition. Six finalists - namely Callum Atkinson, Kris Farrell, Phil Kendall, Barry Lindsay, Tony Lynch and Sara Williams - were invited to Castle Combe to take part in a series of driving and assessment tests, but it was Kendall who came through to win the works drive in a national rally with full support from M-Sport and Castrol Edge.
“It is a dream come true for me,” Kendall said. “I put quite a lot of preparation into today. But nobody knew what way it was going to go. Everybody was fast. The Fiesta R2 is amazing to drive - it just glides over the bumps and the suspension is just unbelievable. Just the enjoyment of driving today was superb, but to win the overall prize is fantastic. I can't believe I have actually done it.”
M-Sport Ford World Rally Team driver Ott Tanak meanwhile was another of the current WRC crop in attendance and he was on the judging panel that selected Kendall as the inaugural winner of the Castrol Edge Search for a Rally Star.
“It has been a really interesting day. I have been to a couple of similar events, but it is great to be here and there is a lot to see and do will all these different cars,” Tanak said.
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