Competitors and fans alike won’t have to wait long for the action to start on this years’ Rally Isle of Man - the opening stage begins 50 metres into the event!
In fact the crews don’t even take to the public highway after crossing the start ramp before the countdown begins and the revs rise!
In an effort to improve still further the spectator appeal of one of the British isles major rallies, organisers have decided that it should, quite literally, fire into life! The first of the 21 high speed, closed roads special stages will therefore take place through the streets in Douglas, starting in the TT Pit Lane at the Grandstand Rally HQ.
From the start, the crews will turn hairpin right, heading up Glencrutchey Road to Governors Bridge and then left towards the finish just before Bedstead Corner (the stage will be called ‘Governors’).
Clerk of the Course Les Postlethwaite is delighted that permission for the stage has been obtained from island authorities. ‘This will be something quite unique for the top British Championship stars. We’d like to thank both the authorities and the local residents for their co-operation’, he says. ‘We carried out a survey of the residents and have been delighted with the response. It should help give the event a real boost and add to what is already recognised by teams and competitors as one of the biggest challenges in the sport.’
‘The teams in particular are delighted. They are normally stationed in service areas miles away from the action, but here they will be able to see their crews begin the event in earnest, and spectators will have plenty of time to take in the start before heading out to the following tests.’
The stage and is actually a shortened version of the test used throughout the years the event was part of the European Rally Championship, with legendary names such as Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Tommi Mäkinen among the fastest drivers.
The move also means that for the first time ever spectators at the Grandstand will be able to witness both the start and finish of the rally, with the now traditional Saturday afternoon dash to the TT finish line also retained on the schedule…
…and even more good news, access to the Grandstand is completely free on both days, so make sure you catch all the action from Britain’s fastest rally stars.
It all gets underway on Friday 9th July from 10am.