Elfyn Evans and father Gwyndaf stole the limelight at Rallyday 2014 on Saturday (September 20) as Wiltshire's Castle Combe Circuit played host to the UK's Premier Rally Car Show and attracted yet another star-studded line-up for the 14th year in succession.
Elfyn, who has stepped up to the top level in the World Rally Championship this season and who is competing with the M-Sport World Rally Team, demoed a WRC liveried Fiesta R5 in the headline Castrol Edge Feature Stage, running at the same time as his father, Gwyndaf, the 1996 British Rally Champion. Gwyndaf was behind the wheel of the MML Sports Mitsubishi WRC05 – Mitsubishi's last WRC car – and both performed in unison a number of crowd pleasing donuts.
They also appeared together on the main Rallyday interview stage to chat about the sport and took time to sign hundreds of autographs for their many fans, young and old.
“It has been a fantastic day,” said Elfyn, who headed up the largest ever M-Sport display at the event, with the Cumbrian outfit also bringing along Mikko Hirvonen's Monte Carlo winning Ford Fiesta S2000 from 2010, as well as Colin McRae's Safari winning Ford Focus WRC from 1999.
“I was really looking forward to it. It was a fantastic event last year for us and we got to play all day in a rally car and it was a similar story this year with the R5,” Elfyn added. “There has been a great turn out again and it has been brilliant to see so many people and a lot of cars. I haven't had time to look at everything, but we have had good fun.
“It is nice to see the Focus that Colin drove on the Safari in 1999 on display here too. It is obviously a special car to M-Sport. It is the first car that won with them and now it is restored fully in the form that it won the Safari. It is a pretty cool car.”
Meanwhile, Markku Alen, who won the FIA Driver's Cup in 1978 - the year before the WRC Drivers' Championship was established, made his maiden appearance at Rallyday. The Finn drove a Lancia 037 - as he piloted in the mid-1980s - and the Toyota Celica GT4 that took him to fourth on the 1992 Lombard RAC Rally.
He also led a 14 strong Lancia Stratos Parade at mid-day, in memory of 1979 World Rally Champion Bjorn Waldegard. Bjorn had been due to attend, but sadly passed away at the start of the month aged 70.
“I had no idea coming here what to expect, but I like it very much. There are a lot of spectators, a lot of history and also this track is beautiful - very safe. A beautiful day – absolutely, I like it,” said Alen.
In addition, to marking the 40th anniversary of the Lancia Stratos, Rallyday also hosted celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the Metro 6R4, the car that has gone on to become one of Britain's best loved rally cars of all time. Harri Toivonen and David Llewellin, 1989 and 1990 British Rally Champion, were a big part of those festivities, which included a reunion of the team that actually built the original car.
“Unbelievable,” said Toivonen. “I drove my old Metro 6R4 that I used on the 1000 Lakes and the RAC about a month ago in Germany. There were a lot of people watching, but nothing like this - this is crazy. I only really noticed when they took the reunion pictures of all of us that I was part of something really big and it was a nice feeling.”
“It has been absolutely brilliant,” he continued. “I would like to say thank-you to all of the organisers and all the people that have been working to make this happen because this is a great and a big event. The atmosphere has been so friendly. I really felt welcome. I am going back home with a smile on my face. In fact, I don't want to go back home. I want to start this again!”
Other stars in attendance included five-time WRC event winner and Richard Burns Foundation patron Markko Martin, who drove an ex-Colin McRae Subaru Impreza WRC and the new Richard Tuthill Porsche 997 RGT, as well as 1977 and 1985 British Rally Champion Russell Brookes, Phil Collins, Nicky Grist, Terry Kaby and Rallyday hosts, Tony Mason, Howard Davies and Graham Robson.
Mason presented the 'Brian Stubbings Spirit of Rallyday' Trophy to Roy Edwards, who has driven at every Rallyday since 2001 and is a great stalwart of rallying, rallycross and motorsport. The 'Brian Stubbings Spirit of Rallyday' Trophy was awarded for the first time last year in memory of Brian, the co-founder of Rallyday, who died suddenly in February 2013.
There were also demos from the world of Autotesting and Rallycross and AWDC Comp Safari demos on the circuit infield. The Cooper Tires 4x4 Zone featured the Race2Recovery team, who were giving everyone the opportunity to experience one of their Wildcats on the fast and rough off road course, the unique Comp Safari demos on the infield as well as a newly developed Challenge demo area, all this in addition to 4x4 off road experience and numerous 4x4 club displays and parade.
Rallyday organiser Darin Frow said: “Rallyday 2014 was unbelievable! There were so many highlights it is impossible to choose just one, but it was an honour to meet Markku, Harri and Markko and to see them genuinely enjoy being a part of the show, and to witness the 6R4 display was something very special, as it was seeing Gwyndaf and Elfyn open the feature stage together - something we have never done before, but which was loved by everyone.
“For Jo [Stubbings - Rallyday co-organiser] and I personally we feel it is the best show we have organised and we would like to thank everyone for making it such a special and successful event and for all the incredible comments we have received even before the show ended.”
For more information, visit www.rallyday.com