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The biggest motorsport event to hit Scotland kicks off today as the Jim Clark Rally 2009 gets underway.
 
The 39th Jim Clark Rally will feature around 300 cars competing over Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th May - making it arguably the biggest-ever weekend of rallying to be staged in the UK.
 
Since 1997, the Jim Clark Rally has been mainland Britain’s only special stage rally to use public roads, specially closed under an Act of Parliament, for flat-out rally competition.
 
This year the event will begin in Edinburgh – where Scotland’s late double World Racing Champion, Jim Clark, was schooled – with a spectacular ceremonial start at the FountainPark leisure complex.
 
The capital’s Lord Provost George Grubb will flag away the UK’s top rally drivers from FountainPark following an all-action show with drift cars, stunt bikes and live entertainment. 

Another of Scotland’s motorsport champions will also be honoured at the event, as Colin McRae’s British championship-winning Subaru Legacy will also be on display at FountainPark.
 
After the ceremonial start in Edinburgh, the focus of the rally will switch to the Borders. Over the three days, spectators can choose from 25 special stages set throughout Berwickshire, ranging in length from the nearly 13-mile long Leitholm test to the shortest stage, at just over one mile.  In a first for the rally, a 1.2 mile sprint will take place through the streets of Duns - the market town just a few miles from what was the family home of the world champion the event commemorates.  The stage will be run twice on Friday night, and once more on Saturday afternoon, providing a uniquely atmospheric spectacle for visitors to the rally.
 
The special stages starting in the market square in Duns will also be preceded by entertainment including more trials bike demonstrations and racing cars.  On Friday and Saturday there will also be stalls and other entertainment in Duns.
 
Jim Clark Rally Manager Colin Pagan said:

“We have worked very hard this year to add even more entertainment to what was already a very exciting event.  We’re delighted at the support we have received from Event Scotland, FountainPark and the city of Edinburgh in making the rally even more accessible for visitors of all ages.  Hopefully everyone will enjoy a fantastic bank holiday weekend of action, and the event will once again be a fitting testament to Scotland’s greatest motorsport competitor Jim Clark.”
 
Lord Provost George Grubb said:

"I am delighted that Edinburgh is playing its part in the Jim Clark Rally - a fantastic event in memory of one of motor racing's true greats.  The ceremonial start here promises to be spectacular, as does the remainder of the race through the Scottish Borders."
 
Young Australian driver, Molly Taylor, will contest the event in a Suzuki Swift as part of the Swift Sport Cup.  Run as part of the British Rally Championship, the Jim Clark Rally will be round three of the Series in which she holds the lead after winning the opening two rounds.

Taylor is looking forward to the event after a successful day's recce yesterday, and is keen to tackle the Scottish tarmac roads.

Follow Taylor's progress over the weekend by visiting her website www.mollytaylor.com.au

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