TORQUAY laid on some rare Autumn sunshine to greet competitors who launched an RAC rally with the roar of some well travelled motors.
A fine array of classic cars lined up in the grounds of Torquay Rugby Club for scrutineering and noise checks for the 11th edition of the Rally of the Tests while its headquarters was at the Grand Hotel.
The event attracted a quality field with representatives from all the previous winning crews and three World Rally Championship co drivers from the 80s out to do battle again. Nearly 40 competitors received their 'novice cross' for their first outing.
One crew were determined to take part even though their Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint had broken down near Calais. They returned home to Holland to get an Austin Healey 3000 then drove through the night to get to Torquay in time for scrutineering. The prologue started fittingly in Cockington village. Ancestors of Major Arthur Mallock, creator of the U2 Clubmans sports-racing car, owned Cockington Court and his two sons are still involved in motorsport.
The drivers tackling the notoriously narrow lanes of South Devon were started at Cockington by Torbay Council chairman Roger Stringer and his wife Shelagh. Cllr Stringer owns a 1952 Bentley R Type.
All crews returned to the Grand Hotel for a welcome dinner.
Torquay was the finish town of the very first RAC Rally 80 years ago in 1932.