Visiting the Rally of Great Britain

On Sunday I decided to take the plunge and head over to the World Rally Championship decider in Wales for the first time.

It was probably the earliest start I’ve ever had, my alarm bursting to life at 3.15am to get me up in time to make the trip over from London to South Wales.

I stumbled out to the car with my friend vowing to keep me awake during the journey by plying me with coffee and conversation.

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We soon arrived at the WRC service park in Swansea where rally teams take residence and fettle the hard-worked and often damaged rally monsters during the three day event.

The rally cars were already grumbling to life and heading off on their drive to the start of the day’s first timed stage – a gravel track deep in the Welsh forest.

We jumped back in my car and followed suit.

The rain was falling in vast quantities as I slowly pulled alongside another motorist on a deserted welsh dual carriageway just a few miles north of the service park.

As it slowly came into view from within its rooster tail of spray I realised it was a full-blown rally-spec Citroen C4 with three-time world rally champion Sebastian Loeb sitting low down behind the wheel.

It’s moments like this that make rallying special – the feeling of following the event as it progresses and getting so close to the action you can literally reach out and touch it.

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We arrived at the rally stage we had chosen and found somewhere to stand at a densely wooded corner, waiting to hear the roar of approaching rally cars.

When they burst into view fans shouted and whistles blew as the cars spat flames and gravel on their way through.

As expected, the weather played a part in the rally with sun, rain and hail all seeming to conspire against the drivers. It takes more than the elements to slow them down though, and the cars danced through the stage at incredible speed.

As I didn’t have a radio, I really had no idea what the results of the rally were until I got home.

I did have a brilliant time watching the cars fly past one by one, in awe of the skill on display keeping a car perfectly in control at 100mph+ over a rough gravel track.

By the end of the day Sebastian Loeb had added another world championship to his collection, just beating Marcus Gronholm in overall championship points.

However, once again Loeb did not win the British rally: that accolade went to the Ford Focus driver Mikko Hirvonen.

Were you at Wales Rally GB? Share your memories of the weekend by adding a comment in the form below.

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2 Comments

Filed under Citroen, Mitsubishi

2 responses to “Visiting the Rally of Great Britain

  1. Nice write-up, looking forward to the 2008 event – more rain, more fog and more spectacular driving hopefully :)

  2. sadly i wasnt there but after watching on the telly i definatly will be next year!!

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