Classic car fans flock to city for full Monte thrills

CLASSIC cars from across the globe will this weekend descend on Glasgow at the start of the world famous Monte Carlo Classic Rally.

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They'll be revving their engines at the starting ramp outside the People's Palace tomorrow.

About 100 glamorous motors will cross the start at Glasgow Green, with yacht captains, world record hopefuls and former tank drivers participating.

Among the crews making the 2000km journey to Monte Carlo in the south of France are drivers from Australia, Malta, the Czech Republic, France and Scotland.

Craig Lowndes, an Order of Australia Medal winner in last year's Queen's Honours List, starts in a Holden car - only the second vehicle from Down Under ever to compete.

Current Scottish rally champ David Bogie has passed on his wishes to the competitors, with organisers hoping to attract 12,000 spectators.

David, 25, the first driver ever to win the Scottish and British rally titles in the same year, said: "These cars are certainly a little different to the modern types I drive but they are beautiful period motors and the spectators will love them.

"This is a glamorous event for Scotland and introduces new generations to rallying.

"As a nation, we have a proud reputation in motorsport and this can only help enhance our global standing.

" I wish everyone involved all the best."

Glasgow will benefit from again hosting the prestigious event.

The Blythswood Square Hotel, host of the rally Gala Dinner has said it is booked out for the weekend.

And Scott Taylor, chief executive of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: "As a city famous for hosting the start of the Monte Carlo Rally in the 1950s and 60s, I'm delighted that this world famous event has again returned to its spiritual home.

"It is great to see the hundreds of international visitors and competitors in the city."

Tomorrow's showcase, free to the public, begins with a display of cars in Buchanan Street between 10am and noon.

At 1pm, entertainment begins at The People's Palace before the first vehicle, a 1976 Skoda driven by Czech Karel Mach and Jan Blaha, leaves the start at 2pm.

Douglas Anderson of the Glasgow Start Committee said: "The preparations are complete. Now it's about the public and the drivers enjoying themselves.

"If the weather is kind, it is possible we could break the record for the highest UK attendance for any Monte Carlo Classic Rally start."


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