Council sponsors classic car for prestigious Monte Carlo Rally

Monte Carlo 2018 team

Bailie Denis Agnew in the driving seat of the council-sponsored Hillman Imp.

West Dunbartonshire Council is sponsoring a classic car on the world-famous 2018 Monte Carlo Rally after securing co-sponsorship from two major Scottish companies.

The Council is to receive partner sponsorship from Imperial Commercials and Parks Motor Group to fully fund the entry of a locally restored 1960s Hillman Imp car which will represent West Dunbartonshire at this year’s event starting on 31 January 2018.  Also, the Council has arranged for Clydebank’s Dalmuir Park to serve as a check-point for the Monte Heritage Run from Aberdeen − the non-competitive event involving the type of cars which have competed in the Rally in previous years.  At the checkpoint, local enthusiasts can expect to see up to 20 classic cars stop en-route from Aberdeen to the start event in Paisley later that evening. The check-point welcome in Dalmuir Park will take place at approximately 3pm and last around half an hour.

Local drivers Scott Fanning and Hugh Liddle, who will drive their classic Hillman Imp 1,500 miles over five days through the length of the UK, across France via the French Alps before finishing in Monte Carlo on February 4th. The entry re-establishes the link between the Council and the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique.  In 2012, Clydebank was the official Scottish start and attracted a crowd of around 14,000 people.

The Monte Carlo Rally was started in 1911 by Prince Albert 1 of Monaco. Cars and crews started at different European start points, roughly equidistant from Monte Carlo. They then made their way to the Principality, over the snow-capped French Alps in winter, before emerging into the sunshine of Monte Carlo.

Bailie Denis Agnew, Convener of Communications, Museums and Cultural Development, who instigated this event, said: “I am delighted that we’ve been able to work with partners to help Scott and Hugh race and represent West Dunbartonshire in this year’s prestigious Monte Carlo Rally. It is also great that we’ve been able to arrange a check-point for the Monte Heritage Run at Dalmuir Park. I’m committed to bringing new cultural events to West Dunbartonshire and re-establishing our links and profile with Europe and this fits that perfectly. I would like to offer my good wishes to our two drivers, who will do us proud.”

Driving the Monte Carlo Rally has been an ambition of Scott and Hugh for almost a decade. The pair met at an Imp Car Rally and through their love of the classic cars struck up a friendship that’s lasted more than 20 years.  Scott 44, from Duntocher and Hugh, 45, from Lenzie have been friends for 20 years and always talked about the event but never had the money to achieve their dream.

Scott said: “It is always something Hugh and I would speak about regularly but never thinking we could ever achieve it.  We are grateful to the Council for their support, without their backing there’s no way we could do this on our own.  Scott added: “We worked on the car every night and weekend for eight weeks to get it ready for this event and now I can’t wait.”

Hugh added: “I can’t tell you how excited I am to be participating in the world-famous rally with my good friend.  We always spoke about how good it would be to be part of the rally but it was always just a pipe dream which is now a reality.  I am really looking forward to going over the Alps an experience I’ve only ever dreamed of. “

Douglas Anderson, Co-ordinator, Scottish Start and UK leg Rallye Monte Carlo Historique, said: “The Monte brings people and places together. The Heritage Event was designed to visit previous Scottish Starts in the history of the Rallye − Aberdeen, Clydebank and Paisley. We are delighted that West Dunbartonshire are sponsoring a Scottish crew in a Scottish-built car and supporting the Monte Heritage Run.”

William Minty of Imperial Commercials, main sponsor of the West Dunbartonshire car and the check-point event, said: “We are absolutely delighted to work with West Dunbartonshire Council to sponsor the car and be part of one of motorsport’s most glamorous events.  The history of the event, the cars and the drivers’ passion is very inspiring and I’m sure this year’s rally will be as thrilling and exciting as previous years. On behalf of everyone at Imperial Commercials, I would like to wish both drivers the very best for a safe and successful drive.”

A spokesperson for Park’s Motor Group, co-sponsors, said: “It is an honour to be involved in this high profile sporting event which is increasing in popularity year on year. We are all very excited about this year’s event and we will be keeping a close eye on the rally and wishing the drivers good luck from everyone at Parks Motor Group.”

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