From Flying Finns to Speeding Swedes, the McRae Rally Challenge in two weeks’ time will have something for everyone.
The latest rally star to sign-up for the challenge is Swedish former World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist.
The entry list is now pretty much finalised (and will be issued shortly) for the two-day ‘McRae Rally Challenge’ on 16/17 May which is being supported by Beatsons’ Building Supplies and EventScotland, to commemorate thje 20th anniversary of Colin McRae and Derek Ringer becoming the first Brits to win the FIA World Rally Championship.
Blomqvist will drive the original Group B Audi Quattro Sport in which long time rival Hannu Mikkola scored numerous outright rally wins in 1982. The car is now owned by the flamboyant English rally driver Steve Perez.
In fact multiple British Rally Champion Perez will be bringing two cars to the event, the Audi for Blomqvist, and an ex-works Ford Focus WRC that he will drive himself. Like Blomqvist, the Chesterfield based driver has huge experience of rallying from the forests of the UK to the vast plains of central African Safari Rallies – so Knockhill will hold no fears!
Additional entries have come from even further abroad – the Isle of Mull, with the island’s top rallying exports, Calum Duffy and John MacCrone confirmed as entries! 8 times Mull Rally winner Calum Duffy will debut his new Subaru Impreza while M-Sport Ford test driver John MacCrone will have a Ford Fiesta - of some sort!
Of particular interest to Scottish rally fans will be the appearance of three times Scottish Rally Champion Ken Wood whose exploits over the years have endeared him to rally followers right across the nation. He has been loyal to British Leyland products ever since he started rallying in a Mini and was the envy of the works British Leyland rally team when he turned his own Triumph TR7 V8 and Rover SD1 into rally and championship winning cars when the professional ‘works’ team struggled. He was also the first privateer to score a rally win in an MG Metro 6R4.
Ken’s stubborn determination to stick with ‘British Leyland’ products has resulted in his most unusual rally car yet – a self-built, rear wheel drive, Triumph Dolomite with a V6 engine!
Another poignant entry has come from Quintin Milne which is very appropriate for this event. Quintin’s own style of flat-out driving has often been compared to that of the former World Champion. But perhaps there is an easy explanation for that.
Quintin’s father Donald Milne was a successful driver in the 1980s and was instrumental in the young McRae’s early success when he provided rally cars and sponsorship to enable the ambitious youngster to contest more events and broaden his experience.
When Quintin built his own Vauxhall Nova and set out on the road to rallying, Colin McRae was there to instruct and support. So when you see Milne’s Mitsubishi Lancer appear on the stage this weekend, take a couple of steps back, just in case!
The Battle of the BTCC Boys
They are more used to going door handle to door handle at the major circuits of the BTCC, but Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden has now been joined by young rising star Aiden Moffat who races in the 2015 BTCC championship in a Laser Tools backed Mercedes Benz. 19 year old Aiden is no stranger to competition cars as he has grown up racing karts and cars since the age of 11.
What will make the “battle of the BTCC boys” even more interesting is that both Gordon and Aiden are entered in Mk2 Escorts and for both, it’s their first ever rally event.
Stuart Gray, Knockhill Events Director added: “The McRae Rally Challenge has already exceeded expectations with the amazing entry list and content, probably marking it as one of the best single venue rally events ever seen in the UK. There are so many ex World, British and Scottish champions entered and to have to the added dimension of two Scottish BTCC stars in Mk2 Escorts, it will be great to see who comes out on top.”