It’s taken just two years for the RACMSA Rally of Scotland to establish itself as one of the very best events on the Intercontinental Rally Challenge calendar. As any driver who tackled 2010’s stages will testify, its 200km of competitive timed stages on Scottish Forestry Commission tracks through the counties of Perthshire and Stirlingshire actually make it one of the best rallies anywhere in the world and this year’s third running of the event promises to be the best yet.
Just as before, it’s very much a case of evolution rather than revolution in 2011.
But there are some exciting new additions and twists to the route and many thanks should go to Clerk of the Course Iain Campbell and his team for again working their magic. Likewise to the many Scottish motor clubs, individuals and volunteer marshals whose commitment and dedication towards making this event happen can never be over estimated.
New for 2011 is a Ceremonial Start against the grand backdrop of Stirling Castle, as is the opening stage – a double run through the forests around Carron Reservoir on the Friday night which promises quite a spectacle. On Saturday, having left central service at Perth Airport, there are two runs each through the established classics of Craigvinean, Errochty and Drummond Hill. Notably, splitting them is a regroup in Perth City Centre – another great initiative that will enable Rally of Scotland to engage further with a wider audience. Saturday also marks the opening action of the supporting National rally, this year being extended to two days and thereby adding greater value for money for both participating crews and paying fans alike.
Sunday’s closing action moves the event back into Stirlingshire, starting with Carron Valley and two runs through both the Loch Chon and High Corrie stages near Aberfoyle. A remote service at Callander will provide a quick breather for which crews will be grateful ahead of their second assault on High Corrie, at 27km the rally’s longest stage and which, by dint of coming right at the end, could be where the event is won and lost…
By the same token, it will be essential for crews to emerge unscathed – because ahead of them will be the final two stages in the stunning grounds of Scone Palace (used previously to start the event). It’s here too that the Ceremonial Finish will also be held and of course it’s a fitting backdrop to hail the winner as it was here in years gone by that Scotland’s kings were crowned. Indeed, a finish at Scone works better for all concerned, particularly the participating crews, the fans who want to get close up to the final blast of action and also the media and many corporate guests.
On behalf of the Organising Team, I’d like to thank EventScotland, the Forestry Commission and the cities of Perth and Stirling for their support, dedication, generosity and vision which enable this rally to take place and Scotland to set the benchmark for others to gauge themselves by.
Alan J Gow Chairman of the Motor Sports Association