WIDESPREAD PRAISE FOR 'WORLD CLASS' RACMSA RALLY OF SCOTLAND
Last weekend's RACMSA Rally of Scotland (15-17 October) has been hailed as one of the best rallies in the world by drivers, fans and organisers.
Scone Palace provided a magnificent moonlit backdrop to the prestigious event's first two competitive stages on Friday evening. The dramatic high-speed action then switched to the spectacular forests of Perthshire and the Trossachs before the grand ceremonial finish at historic Stirling Castle on Sunday afternoon.
After three days of fiercely fought competition held under largely sunny skies, the high-profile event - the UK's only round of the globetrotting Intercontinental Rally Challenge - was narrowly won by Juho Hanninen. Skoda Motorsport's Finnish ace also clinched the 2010 IRC title with one round remaining on this year's calendar.
"After seeing the stages I was saying 'yes! yes! I really want to do this rally'," enthused Hanninen. "The tracks are superb. Everything is so well organised. The pre-event reconnaissance, the marshals, the finish of the stages, the road sections, the officials, the service areas… it's very professionally organised - world class. Without doubt Rally of Scotland is one of the very best we do."
"The stages have been in incredible condition," agreed 2009 IRC champion Kris Meeke who dropped back to finish third in Scotland after leading the early exchanges. "From a driving point of view it's the best rally in the championship and certainly the best rally in the UK."
Meeke's comments were echoed by all of his fellow competitors as well as the Clerk of the Course, Iain Campbell. "Everyone has been extremely complimentary," he said. "It's always especially rewarding to hear so many of the world's top rally drivers being so full of praise. We didn't just want to host a sporting event; we wanted to create a friendly one that also showcased the very best of Scotland. It was also encouraging to see full car parks and spectators enjoying the sunshine. I'd like to take the credit for the unseasonably good weather, too, but we can't really take the glory for that… although we did move the rally forward by a month after 2009's torrential rain. We must also thank the Forestry Commission for the excellent condition of the special stages and all the volunteers who helped to make this rally such tremendous success."
Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland was delighted that the event delivered such a positive demonstration of the region's many fortes. He said: "The 2010 RACMSA Rally of Scotland was very well received by spectators and the many more that tuned in to watch the coverage on television via Eurosport around the world. The rally brought some of the world's top drivers to the Perth and Stirling regions and the communities supported the event in numbers, with the weather being much more favourable than the inaugural year. Through the extensive TV coverage, Scotland has been showcased once again as 'the perfect stage' and the months of planning and supporting this event have been well worth it."
By popular demand the RACMSA Rally of Scotland will be one of the highlights on 2011 IRC calendar when the event will run from 14-16 October.