Rallyday will bring together some of the finest cars and drivers in the history of the World Rally Championship, with more Group B finery than ever before coming to Castle Combe on Saturday.
World champions and heroes of the sport Didier Auriol, Craig Breen, Alex Fiorio, Nicky Grist and three generations of the rallying’s most famous dynasty – the McRae family – will headline Europe’s biggest and best one-day rally show.
Auriol, who stood on top of the world in 1994, will be reunited with the Lancia Delta HF Integrale he used to win an astonishing six WRC rounds in 1992. Driving the Rally Replay-supplied car is something the Frenchman is looking forward to.
“I remember this Lancia well,” said Auriol. “It was a nice car for me. To come to England again and to meet some fans, it’s going to be a good day. And I look forward to talking to people and telling some stories from when I was driving [in the championship] and especially from RAC Rally. There were some stories from this one, for sure.”
Breen is the driver who brings this year’s Rallyday story right up to date. Ten days on from Rallyday, the Irishman will be in the thick of Hyundai Motorsport’s challenge for this year’s World Rally Championship title as he returns to a factory i20 Coupe WRC for Wales Rally GB.
As well as being one of the WRC’s brightest stars, Breen is a strong advocate of the sport’s history and heritage – which is why he’s bringing his own MG Metro 6R4 (which falls in perfectly with the 35-year celebration of the ARG supercar’s 1984 debut). In one, the Waterford driver provides the perfect solution to past and present.
“I’m really excited about Rallyday,” said Breen. “You know me, any time I get to drive the Metro is a special day and any time I get to have a good look around other rally cars, it’s an even better day. There’s going to be some great and really interesting cars there.”
British rallying history doesn’t get any richer than the McRae name. Jimmy McRae is a five-time British Rally Champion as well as an immensely popular Rallyday regular. Saturday’s not just about Jimmy, this time he brings the present and the future with Alister and Alister’s son Max making the trip from Perth, Australia to Wiltshire.
“Dad talks a lot about Rallyday and the potential for driving lots of different cars and having a lot of fun,” said Alister. ”This time Max and I have decided not to let him have all the fun – we’ll be there for some as well. It’ll be a great day and a great chance to see lots of old friends again.”
McRae Sr (Sr) will be reunited with the Rothmans MG Metro 6R4 he drove in the 1986 British Open series. He will also step back further in time to drive the Vauxhall Chevette HSR he used in 1981. As well as that, all three McRaes will step aboard a selection of the sensational BGMsport-prepared cars Colin McRae drove in his career.
Ian Gwynne’s BGMsport firm is at the heart of this year’s Rallyday, with an unprecedented 21 vehicles attending the event. And, in a real treat for fans of days gone by, three of those cars (the Chevette HSR, a Subaru Legacy RS and Ford RS1700T) will be towed to Castle Combe by the same service barge which towed them when they were competing.
Rallyday organiser Tom Davis says fans are in for a real treat on Saturday.
“As we’ve been putting this year’s event together, it’s just been getting better and better,” said Davis. “The BGMsport collection is amazing and then we’ve got some beautiful, beautiful Lancias coming from Rally Replay – including arguably the most iconic of Group B cars, the Delta S4. And that Italian theme doesn’t stop with the cars. We’re delighted to welcome Alex Fiorio to Rallyday for the first time.
“And this year we have the perfect stage for them with the introduction of the Legends Stage. In 1983, the RAC Rally came through Castle Combe and this year, we decided to recreate that stretch of road. So, for just over an hour at lunchtime, rally fans can sit on the bank in the sunshine, wind the clock back 36 years and enjoy the sights and sounds of the early Eighties on Wiltshire’s own World Rally Championship stage.
“Rallyday doesn’t get any better than that. Until next year, we have a big treat coming for 2020 and there will be more news about that on Saturday.”
– Rallyday is Europe’s premier one-day rally show, descending on Castle Combe Circuit on Saturday 21 September.