Rallyday took some of the rarest cars in the sport’s history and put World Rally Champions and heroes behind the wheel to make Saturday’s event one of the most spectacular in its 19-year history.
With Group 4, Group B and Group A machinery worth in excess of £10m in attendance at Castle Combe, rally fans were treated to an extraordinary display of cars which surprised even the likes of Hyundai Motorsport WRC star Craig Breen and 1994 world champion Didier Auriol.
Having arrived with his own MG Metro 6R4 and appreciated cars like the ex-Tony Pond 1985 RAC Metro parked alongside, Craig said: “It’s something very rare to get a collection of cars together like these here at Rallyday and to get them out on the track is even more special.
“I’m delighted to have been here and I’ll definitely be back to have another snoop around some more of these cars.”
As the new-for-2019 Legend Stage began at lunchtime, fans packed the side of the stage to watch as the history of the sport unfolded before them. As well as a fleet of ex-McRae machinery, there was the stunning sight of a Lancia Delta S4, driven by Edoardo Bresolin.
Another Rallyday debutant, Bresolin said: “It’s so nice to bring this car to show the people. I think they feel the same about the S4 like me, it’s magic.”
Auriol starred in slightly younger Deltas, driving the beautiful HF Integrale, Lancia’s last ever rally car in the WRC.
“I knew the reputation of Rallyday,” Auriol said. “And Miki [Biasion, former Lancia team-mate and fellow world champion] came here last year and told me it’s a really friendly event – but it’s so nice. Fantastic cars and so many people. I want to come back.”
This year’s Rallyday featured more headline-grabbing cars from the WRC than ever before and supporting them were some of the sport’s finest examples of clubmen-spec machinery.
Rallyday was delighted to welcome three generations of McRaes for the first time, as Jimmy, his son Alister and his son Max lined up to enjoy themselves. Predictably, rallying’s most famous family went down a storm – with five-time British Rally Champion Jimmy delighted to be the McRae busiest at the family autograph session.
Alister said: “I’ve been here a couple of times before, but not for about 10 years. It’s really impressive how it’s grown and to see so many great cars out here is amazing. It’s been fantastic to get out in a car like a proper Prodrive BMW M3 and to be told there’s nothing below 4,000rpm and you can take it up to 9,000!”
Alister’s son Max loved his first taste of Rallyday too. He added: “It’s been amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. I got to go around with Craig in his Metro – that’s a fast car! I didn’t expect it to be so quick and he certainly knows how to drive it; he was faster than the car!”
Ian Gwynne’s BGMsport firm was at the heart of the event, bringing 23 vehicles, many of which belonged to DirtFish owner and American-based rally enthusiast Steve Rimmer.
Rallyday organiser Tom Davis said: “The idea behind the Legend Stage was to take the best of the best in the sport and put it in front of the people on a stage designed around the route the RAC Rally took when it came here in 1983. That has gone better than I could possibly have ever imagined.
“There are a lot of people to thank for this year’s event, not least our sponsors VP Racing Fuels and SuperPro. And the McRae family, Craig, Didier, Rally Replay for bringing so many Lancias – including that beautiful Delta S4 – and, of course, BGMsport and Steve Rimmer for his amazing cars. Steve talks about wanting to share his collection with like-minded folk and he’s certainly put a smile on thousands of faces today.
“As well as those guys, there are a whole lot more clubs and clubmen who come here and make this whole day possible. As much as we love the stars and their cars, we have to thank everybody for their efforts.”
- Keep your eyes peeled over at Rallyday's website – www.rallyday.com – for news on 2020's instalment of the event.