The rally show this weekend was held at Cornbury park near Oxford on the 14th – 15th of May.
The British public had a WRC exclusive as it was the first public outing for both the Brand new Mini John Cooper Works WRC car and the Ford Fiesta RS WRC car. Dani Sordo, fresh from the Mini’s WRC Rally Sardinia debut where he finished in 6th place, joined Fords Henning Solberg as star guest’s for the show. Fans had the chance to get up close to the WRC stars for photos and autographs, and were highly entertained by the impressive driving skills of the WRC aces as they took to the short 1.5mile rally stage.
It was a great day out for rally fans and I think it was a reminder that Rallying as a sport is still very much alive in the hearts of British rally fans.
Among the WRC stars with their cars, other rally show treats included the displays which acted as a service park where many other cars awaited to get out onto the stage. Cars ranging from many Escorts, one of them from Phil Mills run company Viking motorsport, Group B cars such as the legendary Audi quattros and Lancia’s 037, Sunbeam Lotus, a rare visit of a Ferrari 308 GTB, the Subaru Impreza that Colin McRae drove to victory on Rally China in 1997, Triump Spitfire, Ford RS200 and so many other types of cars to many to try and list here.
As well as the cars, the Cornbury show also had the stars of the past for the fans to rub shoulders with and listen to their thoughts and stories on the interview stage, the likes of Phil Mills, Jim McRae, Vic Elford, Russell Brookes, Andrew Cowan and the Legend that took the Mini to Victory in the 60’s, Paddy Hopkirk.
It was a fascinating day out with all things rally. And even the Battle of Britain memorial Fly over display from the RAF, and a great stunt driving routine by Terry Grant and his donuts.
But by far the best attraction for me and for most of the fans there was the 1.5 mile asphalt Rally stage. Which was part of the test last used on the great RAC rally back in 1999. All the cars including the Mini and Ford WRC took to the stage many times throughout the weekend, and at one point Dani and Henning both went out together as a one off for a bit of real wheel to wheel racing, luckily no contact, throwing them around the corners and flying over the jumps. Both teams also using the weekend rally stage as a public unofficial test to collect a small amount of valuable data to keep the cars up to date for their attack on the WRC.
Check out photos from the event here https://insiderally.com/2011/05/14/the-rally-show-photos/