It’s easy to estimate the popularity of a rally; one need only count the number of people who want to take part in it. Just two weeks ago a group of people met one evening in the basement of 31 Belgrave Square, London, SW1, their purpose being to seed the entries for the 1971 RAC International Rally of Great Britain. In front of them on the table were nearly 260 applications for entry, indicating the tremendous enthusiasm for this sort of event in the UK.
Works entries are not as numerous as they were last year, a notable absentee being the Alpine team from France. But that hasn’t stopped 1971’s most successful driver Ove Andersson entering himself in a car borrowed from the factory. There will be no Porsches either, but Björn Waldegård has entered one in a similar way to Andersson.
There will be works cars from Lancia, Saab, Datsun, Fiat, Wartburg and probably Ford. In addition, there are entries from the Austrian Citroëns, the French Opels and, for the first time, the Finnish Opels which are every bit as exciting to watch as their Swedish counterparts who aren’t coming this year. Other well-known names include Boyd, Sparrow (who will be driving for the Vauxhall Dealers Association), Cowan, Malkin, Hibbert, Bloxham and Culcheth (in an Abingdon-prepared Marina).
A three-car team of Escorts has been entered by Withers of Winsford, their regular men Sclater and Fidler being joined by Joginder Singh from Kenya for the occasion. Altogether it will be an event worth watching; it invariably is.
Two months ago we promised to provide readers with either a guide to the route to be taken by the rally or the means of ascertaining it. Regrettably we have to resort to the second alternative, for as we go to print there is still the possibility that some parts of the planned route will be changed. Rather than have you go off on fruitless journeys, may we suggest that you obtain a copy of the November 18 issue of Motoring News which will contain a complete guide to the rally, including the full entry list and precise locations of time controls and special stages.
Briefly, the start will be at Harrogate at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 20th. The first leg will be in the north of England and Scotland, penetrating all the way to Grantown-on-Spey and returning to Harrogate for a night stop on Monday, November 22nd. The second leg, starting on the Tuesday morning, will take in Wales and Southern England before passing quite close to London and returning to Harrogate for the finish late on Wednesday aftemoon.—G. P.