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Monte Carlo classics leave Paisley for France

26 January 2017

A challenging 1,300-mile drive lies ahead for 20 historic cars heading for the south of France in the classic Monte Carlo Rally.

In total, around eighty cars left the start ramp outside Paisley Abbey last night, in three separate categories.

The Historique class is being run for the 20th year and is restricted to car models which competed in the Monte Carlo Rallies between 1955 and 1980.

It will run over eight days on open public roads with the cars and crews having undertaken a series of fourteen demanding test stages in the mountains of southern France.

A crowd of more than 10,000 people gathered in the centre of Paisley to wave off the crews and enjoy an evening of music and street food.

At the wheel of one of the cars, an MG Midget, which is the official opening car for the Scottish Start, was Douglas Anderson, the UK co-ordinator and the man responsible for bringing the Monte back to Scotland again in 2011. He was delighted with the turnout:

“This year’s Monte Start had all the ingredients to make it a unique mid-winter festival which lifted the spirits of all the folk from Paisley and beyond who come along each year to enjoy the wonderful carnival atmosphere.”

Well prepared for a chilly drive south was Andrew Goodfellow from Dundee, his co-driver Derek Coghill and their 1930 Austin 7 Ulster open-topped 2-seater sports car, which will – hopefully – complete the drive to Monte Carlo.

Goodfellow said: “What a fantastic opportunity this is to take part in this historic event and were both totally confident that we and the car will make it all the way. The only concern is the snow on the route through the Alps.”

Their drive will raise funds for SAMH, the Scottish Association of Mental Health.

Also leaving the start ramp was an ex-BMC works Mini Cooper S which competed in the Monte Carlo Rally 50 years ago, finishing 6th overall in the hands of rally legend Paddy Hopkirk. It is being driven this time by Scottish rally enthusiasts Pat Haley and Mike Hyrons.

The event is supported by Renfrewshire Council. Provost Anne Hall added: “Once again, it was a pleasure to be able to flag the cars off and I would like to wish all the best to the drivers setting off for France.”

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