Rally stars for Goodwood Festival of Speed
- 20th June 2007, 11:22am
A wealth of rally stars, past and present – including Carlos Sainz, Petter Solberg, Colin McRae, Stig Blomqvist and Paddy Hopkirk, – will be in action on the demanding Forest Rally Stage on the hillside above Goodwood House at this year’s Festival of Speed, being staged this weekend.
The Goodwood forest will reverberate to the sound of both modern and historic rally cars as the Festival of Speed showcases the greatest loose-surface driving on its exciting Forest Rally Stage. The Stage has been further enhanced for 2007 by Goodwood, working in close consultation with rally legend and former World Champion Hannu Mikkola, who helped to design the course, and will be in action on it throughout the weekend.
The 3km stage will include, for the first time, a ‘yump’ which will see the faster rally cars getting airborne, adding a thrilling new element for both the spectators and photographers. Additionally, a new 500m rally section will include an exciting sweeping S-bend, as well as a fast straight featuring several challenging kinks right alongside the main spectator thoroughfare.
With no date conflict with the World Rally Championship this year, Goodwood plans to bring many protagonists of the modern sport back to the Festival once again. The current Subaru WRC team will be joined by both Ford’s factory and Stobart WRC teams, plus teams from Mitsubishi and Skoda. All current WRC cars and drivers can also be seen in action on the Goodwood hillclimb course twice a day.
Former World Champion, Colin McRae, plans to drive his exciting new R4 rally car in public for the very first time. The spectacular 2.5-litre four-wheel drive car has been designed and built to Colin’s specification as an affordable National rally car that offers a driving experience similar to a full WRC model. The car is being manufactured to order and production is already underway on the first customers’ cars.
In action alongside McRae will be other rally World Champions – Hannu Mikkola, Stig Blomqvist, Petter Solberg and Björn Waldegård – as well as Monte-Carlo-winning Mini legend Paddy Hopkirk, making his first appearance at the Festival. The world’s most successful lady rally driver, Michele Mouton, will be in action over the weekend, alongside WRC works drivers Chris Atkinson, and Matthew Wilson, as will Peugeot-Cosworth campaigner Andy Burton and leading Ford driver Guy Wilks. Former British Champions Gwyndaf Evans, Russell Brookes and Marcus Dodd will also drive, as will 1970s rally star Tony Fall.
Around 30 cars from the history of rallying will tackle the stage throughout all three days of the event. Cars range from early Sixties machines like the Mini Cooper S, and Saab 96 through to more contemporary machinery such as Lancia Delta Integrale and Toyota Celica GT4. The ubiquitous Ford Escort Mk1 and Mk2 take part alongside such legendary Group 4 machines as the Lancia Stratos and Porsche 911. And awesome fire-breathing Group B rally cars – so brutal they were banned in the 1980s – are out in force once again. You can see Audi Quattro Sport, Lancia Rallye 037, Renault 5 Maxi Turbo, MG Metro 6R4, Ford RS200, Opel Manta 400, Toyota Twin Cam Turbo and Nissan 240RS.
As well as providing great entertainment, the Forest Rally Stage also raises funds in memory of two of rallying’s most popular figures. In November 2005, England’s only World Champion, Richard Burns, lost a long battle against cancer. Burns’ former co-driver, Robert Reid, will be at the Festival all weekend to manage the activities of The Richard Burns Foundation, which was set up last year in the memory of Richard. Goodwood and the Richard Burns Foundation will work together to support an appropriate charitable cause – which is the Teenage Cancer Trust this year.
Festival of Speed founder, the Earl of March, says: “I am delighted at the enthusiasm shown for the Forest Rally Stage since it was introduced in 2005. It had long been an ambition of mine to see exciting rally cars performing in their natural environment, and the course designed by the great Hannu Mikkola has created a wonderful stage on which to marvel at some of the very best and most spectacular driving that motor sport has to offer.”
Mark Simpson of cmwi.net will be at the Goodwood Festival of Speed all weekend and we’ll have some of Mark’s photos in our Photo Gallery next week.
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