Leeds - RAC International Historic Rally 1996

The RAC International Historic Rally is the final round of the FIA European Historic Rally Trophy. The event is a partnership between the RAC Motor Sports Association Ltd and the Historic Rally Car Register (the leading historic rallying club in Europe). The event came about after the two organisations joined forces to combine their two international events - the one day Rally Britannia, first organised in 1991 and sponsored by Duckhams and Heritage, which ran in association with the RAC Rally, and the RAC's own international historic rally which ran in March 1992 and 1993. These were combined into a two day international, promoted by the RAC Motor Sports Association, and organised by the Historic Rally Car Register.

The European Historic Rally Trophy is an eight round series for cars registered before the end of December 1966, cars registered before the end of December 1971 also compete for separate category awards. The events are special stage rallies similar in type to those for their modern counterparts but the cars are all from an earlier period - Porsche 356 and 911, Ford Cortina and Zephyr, MGB, Triumph TR3 and TR4, Austin A35 and A40, and Mini Cooper. In the later category expect to see Ford Capri and Escort, Datsun 240Z, and Opel Olympia.

The 1996 RAC International Historic Rally will be based in the historic City of Leeds, as the city are co-sponsors of the event. Over the last two years the organisers have gradually increased the forestry mileage on the event, although only good quality, smooth forest tracks are used. This year the event will run over selected stages of the first two legs of the Network Q RAC Rally. The Saturday leg sees the historic cars paying two visits to Croft Circuit. On the first visit they will attempt two runs over a 2.74 mile stage, they pick up the modern rally's route through the famous Pundershaw and County Durham stages. On their return to Croft in the afternoon they will have two runs over the same 'Super Special' to be used by the Network Q RAC Rally later in the evening.

The second leg of the event gives competitors the opportunity to compete on some of the other Network Q RAC Rally spectator stages - i.e. Clumber Park, Donington Park and the Leeds stage at Temple Newsam Park. The event finishes in front of the Town Hall on the Headrow in Leeds shortly after one o'clock on Sunday afternoon.

Last year the event received the highest ever level of overseas competitors with entries from Japan, USA, Germany, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Norway, Holland and Austria. We regularly welcome back competitors from all these countries, many of whom have been travelling to the event for the last five years, as well as, for the first time in 1995, competitors from Spain and France. Almost half the entrants on the international rally come from overseas. So far this year we have received entries from the USA, Japan, Germany and Belgium and interest from overseas is at an all time high.

The event also is always well supported by British historic rally enthusiasts with many of the UK's leading competitors taking part. Drivers like Paul Merryweather (MGB) and James Harrison (Ford Zephyr) who are established historic rally competitors, mix it with those, like Mike Hibbert (Ford Lotus Cortina) and Brian Bell (Porsche 911) who have had previous success in modern rallying and are now returning to their roots. The 1995 international event was won by Jimmy McRae, writing the 'first chapter' of what was to become a famous family double.

[Special Stage Rally Results Archive] [Leeds - RAC International Historic Rally index]

Last Modified: 28 September 1996

Page Author: David James, david@tcs01.demon.co.uk