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The greatest rally in the world

5 months ago

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Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder


1 December 2023

This is the RAC Rally. Unofficially, at least – and those three letters don’t mean what you think they do. Most likely you’ll be thinking of the famous old Royal Automobile Club, and you’ll either be picturing a bright orange recovery vehicle with blinking lights to match, or the plush private members’ club on Pall Mall, depending on your leaning.

Way back when the club and the roadside assistance fleet were indivisible from one another, the RAC organised (and lent its initials to) this country’s premier motor rally, starting in the early 1930s. Rallying evolved over the years and became a speed rather than a regularity discipline, and a far better spectacle because of it, and the RAC – true fans only ever called it the RAC – steadily became one of the world’s most prestigious and gruelling stage rallies, particularly during the 1970s, ’80s and most of the ’90s. Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship was one every driver wanted to win.

This is a different RAC altogether, but we’ll come to that. From where I’m standing, though, just a couple of metres from the stage itself but high up on a grassy bank, this could be the old RAC so beloved of rallying enthusiasts. We’re in mid Wales, high in the hills, with far reaching views almost all the way to Cardigan Bay in the west. The air is frigid, cold enough that I see my breath with every exhalation, but it’s also charged with anticipation.

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