MOTOR SPORT: Waldegard to headline Rallyday 2014

Wiltshire Times: Bjorn Waldegard Bjorn Waldegard

FORMER World Rally champion Bjorn Waldegard will appear at the 14th Rallyday at Castle Combe in September.

Waldegard, who won the title in 1979 and won 16 FIA World Rally Championship events during his career, will start at the popular event on Saturday, September 20 and help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Lancia Stratos rally car.

The Swede will drive a Lancia Stratos HF similar to that he drove in 1975, when he won the Swedish and Sanremo rallies, taking to the circuit as part of a specific Stratos parade and driving in the headline Castrol Feature Stage, which saw a record 55 incredible cars in action in 2013.

Waldegård will also appear on the main Rallyday interview stage where he will recall some of the highlights from his time in the sport, which will be followed by an autograph session.

“I remember Rallyday as a very pleasant happening. To be able to go back feels very good and to celebrate the Lancia Stratos 40th Anniversary will be fantastic. I look forward to having a drive in one again,” said Waldegard, who has attended the event once before back in 2005, when he headlined along with the likes of the late Colin McRae, 1995 World Rally champion, McRae's brother Alister, and then-Mitsubishi works driver, Gigi Galli.

Rallyday 2014 will also mark the 30th birthday of the Metro 6R4, the car that has gone on to become one of Britain's best-loved rally cars of all time.

David Llewellin, 1989 and 1990 British Rally champion will be a big part of those festivities and he will be in action behind the wheel of various cars including a Metro 6R4. The anniversary will also include a reunion from the teams who built the original car, which organisers expect to be a very special part of the show.

“Rallyday has become one of those dates on the calendar that I always try to keep free. It is a great day and for me to get back in the old cars is always a moment I look forward to,” said Llewellin.

“Obviously this year’s show will be a bit more special due to the Metro 6R4 celebrations. The 6R4 was a big part of my career and I have got very fond memories of it because it gave me my first International win on the Circuit of Ireland back in 1986.

"It was of course part of the Group B era too and that is something we all look back upon with great fondness. The 6R4 was a big part of that.”

Other highlights this year will include an ultra-rare collection of period works rally cars from the bygone days of the British Leyland Motor Company.

These will take pride of place in the main paddock and feature cars from the 1960s and 1970s including ex-works variants of the Morris Marina, Austin 1800 and Austin Maxi, Triumph Dolomite Sprint and TR7 V8 and of course the infamous Mini Cooper.

Rallyday organisers Darin Frow and Jo Stubbings are pleased with the way the event is shaping up.

“We’ve actually been champing at the bit to host the Stratos and 6R4 anniversaries since before Rallyday 2013 so to see these start to come together with genuine cars and be able to welcome back Björn and Dai is perfect,'' said Frow.

"We have also had an incredible response from the teams who built the original 6R4 too, so the reunion will be very special.

“There is lots more in the pipeline as well and it will be crazy if it all happens, especially as this will in addition to the usual action from the SuperPro Clubmans Stage, the Cooper Tires 4x4 Zone with Race2Recovery and extended Challenge demo course, Rallycross, Autotests and track sessions.''

Tickets for Rallyday 2014 are on sale now, with advance tickets for adults costing £15 (if booked before September 5) or £20 on the day. Accompanied children under 16 go free.

See rallyday.com, @RallydayUK on Twitter or the Facebook page at facebook.com/RallydayUK.

MORE SPORTS NEWS & PICTURES IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES

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