Hyundai Motorsport driver Craig Breen stars on Rallyday’s return

Richard Burns parade provides a fitting tribute to Englishman’s 2001 title

LEGENDS stage a massive hit with the Castle Combe crowds

It’s like it had never been away. Rallyday returned to make September feel like September again on Saturday.

Forced off the calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the organisers of Europe’s biggest one-day rally show were determined to show fans what they’d been missing for the last two years. 

They certainly did that. Craig Breen, Mark Higgins, Nicky Grist, Ian Gwynne and a long list of other stars aligned to make Rallyday 2021 one of the most popular and certainly the most poignant yet.

Twenty years on from Richard Burns’ 2001 World Rally Championship title, the Englishman’s sister Jo drove into the event in her brother’s Subaru Impreza RB320 and set the tone for the day perfectly.

The atmosphere for the parade of Burns cars at lunchtime was incredible, with admiration, adoration and absolute respect for what Richard and co-driver Robert Reid achieved two decades and two months ago.

A LEGENDS stage entry packed with the stuff of a rally fan’s dreams was a great way to follow the parades. Watching an ex-Hannu Mikkola Audi quattro E2 being followed into the stage by some of the finest factory rally cars ever made was what Rallyday was all about.

Castle Combe managing director Graham Marshallsay said: “We really couldn’t have wished for a better return for Rallyday. It’s been the perfect day.

“The quality of the cars we’ve had here has been quite unbelievable and to have Craig Breen stopping in to catch up with everybody on his way to Rally Finland next week was incredible. 

“Rallyday is all about a real mix of everything rallying from the grass roots right to the top of the WRC. We’ve achieved that again with Rallyday – there was truly something for everybody. I can’t thank Jo [Burns] enough for coming to join us on what’s been a very, very special day to remember Richard.

“There are, of course, a whole lot more people to thank – especially Tom [Williams] and Mark [Higgins] – to thank for what they did to help with our tribute to Richard.

“Ian Gwynne worked his magic on the LEGENDS stage as well. Walking down the line of cars waiting to go in at 1230 was a proper who’s who and what’s what of the World Rally Championship down the years. And the response from the crowd, the cheers when iconic car after iconic car is something I’ll remember for a very long time.

“But the biggest thanks goes to the fans and the marshals – without those guys none of this would have been possible. We know it wasn’t the perfect Rallyday – how can it be without signing and selfie sessions? But without applying those COVID protocols, we would all have been sitting at home and not watching the world’s finest rally cars and drivers. 

“Thank you. What a day. What a Rallyday!”