What do you get when you take one quiet Italian microstate, a swarm of rally-mad fans, and a fistful of Group B, A, and WRC machinery? The answer is Rallylegend, and if you are a rally fanatic then this is one event you should be marking on your calendar every year. This year Martin Hansson and I are going to be bringing you a few blogs on the event as we are both rally mad and this is effectively Goodwood for the rally enthusiast. We believe that Rallylegend is an event that has to be experienced at least once and here is why!
1.Variety at these events is just insane, you get everything from Group A, to modern WRC machinery. There is no shortage of historic, and modern machines ready to fire out of time control down the stages.
The modern cars are undoubtedly faster than their ‘killer b’ counterparts, yet getting to see a S1 Quattro in person is something you won’t forget in a hurry, but watching it fly by in a cloud of clutch smoke with the waste gate chattering is something you will NEVER forget.
2.Rallylegend runs like a well-oiled machine, everything goes off without a hitch which makes for a pleasurable weekend. The stages are run to the minute, and things in general are very well organised. All spectators need to do is keep an eye on the time to get to the following stage before the competitors are let loose again. At times this is easier said than done though!
3.If you like to get up close and personal with the action, drivers, and cars then this is the event for you! For many fans, rallying is super popular as unlike F1 you aren’t kept at arm’s length from the fun stuff. Drivers are very approachable, and the cars are right there to drool over.
4. When it comes to this event, the name says it all, and it is perfectly fitting too. The drivers, and cars that enter year upon year are the creme-de-la-creme of the sport. Röhrl ,Blomqvist, and Alén are household names for rally fans around the world and marques such as Lancia, and Audi hold a special place in history.
The real Stig signing autographs for adoring fans.
Colin McRae’s co-driver Derek Ringer looking over notes before hitting the stages.
Ari Vatanen taking a casual stroll admiring the cars.
5. The event provides something for everyone. For the younger generation of fans the opportunity to see the legendary Group B cars is a huge drawcard, and for the older generation of rally fans seeing the likes of the Stratos, Fiat 131, and RS1800s out driving like they remember is sure to bring back memories. Of course not to be outdone, the modern WRC machinery is thrown into the mix creating a smorgasbord of rallying which is very good for the soul!
6. Fistfuls of opposite lock, engines revving consistently at eight grand and crews looking out the side windows are very much a thing of the past but not here. Rallylegend celebrates the Scandinavian flick, and if you think crews are worried about tyre preservation then think again. A few of the crews insist on running gravel tyres on the back to ensure that the rear end is extra lively for the fans lining the stages.
7. Night stages. Yes you heard that right, strap on those light pods and snake your way down a pitch black narrow ribbon of tarmac. Night stages are what set the men apart from the boys, and as a spectator there is something special about standing around in the dark, with a rowdy bunch of fans, campfires roaring, listening to the anti-lag and turbo whistle of rally cars approaching. A few seconds of blinding light, and then the read glow of the rear lights fading into the distance while the smell of tyre smoke, clutch and hot brakes lingers in the air is sure to plaster a smile on your face.
8. The backdrop of SanMarino is incredibly fitting for such an event. The narrow tarmac roads that snake around the microstate of SanMarino are a photographers paradise and will always throw up some superb backdrops. There is a very real, historic feeling to the location, and throw in some classic rally cars and how can you not love it?
9. Getting to see retired drivers reunited with their original cars is a special thing in the motorsport world. Driven in the white heat of battle, many are often never seen again by the drivers. Often disappearing into museums, private collections, or written off in competition, the world simply loses touch with so many iconic cars. Rallylegend re-writes history by bringing these cars out of hiding, and pairing them up again with the original drivers who pedalled them in their heyday. That alone deserves a round of applause!
Armin Schwartz behind the wheel of his TTE Celica.
Giles Panizzi reunited with his Peugeot 306 Maxi.
Markku Alén behind the wheel of his 1986 Lancia S4.
10. Rallying has always been a bit of a romantic, adventurous sport with passionate fans who will do anything for the sport they love. Simply put, rallying would be nothing without them. When a missed note results in a car off the road, or flipped onto its lid, spectators are always the first ones on scene to lend a hand. They keep the crews going both mentally and physically when the going gets tough, and this atmosphere is exactly what you find out on the stages of Rallylegend.
Rallying has and always will be a sport for the people, no barriers between the fans and the sport is a hugely attractive factor for many. Now that Martin and I have told you exactly why we love this event so much, next up we will highlight a few key parts that we really enjoy the most. Stay tuned for the next instalment of Rallylegend coming very soon!