News Mark Walker February 7, 2024 (Comments off) (95)

Rally Retro Festival Returns to Melbourne

A hidden jewel on the local motorsport calendar is fast approaching, with the fifth running of the Shannons Rally Retro Festival on February 17-18, with some of the best rally cars from around the region converging on Melbourne.

While rallying out in the bush can, at times for spectators, be a longwinded process, this gathering sees the best of the best come thick and fast.

Held at the METEC Driver Training Centre in the Melbourne suburb of Bayswater North, the Festival sees many genuine period cars mixed with a smattering of uber-cool reproductions, who take to a closed loop of tarmac and gravel features, all right in front of a natural amphitheatre, ensuring non-stop action for spectators.

The confirmed lineup announced to date is mouthwatering, with 40 cars or more expected to participate.

From a works-built Australian Ford Escort, which was campaigned Downunder by WRC champ Björn Waldegård, to a schmick Renault R5 Turbo with European pedigree, the mix will have something for everyone.

A trio of pristine Lancias includes a Lancia Fulvia 1.6HF, which came second in the 1972 San Marino Rally and won the Four Regions rally in Italy in 1973, before embarking on a successful stint of historic local competition.

Meanwhile, a Renault Alpine A110 will no doubt be a head turner, ditto a Triumph TR7 V8, and a Datsun 160J, as successfully campaigned by George Fury.

You can catch up with a Group A Mitsubishi Starion, which was prepped for the 1987 Himalayan Rally, while a World Rally Fiat 131 Abarth promises to be spectacular.

While not the fastest these days, the R8 Renault Gordini is a genuine throwback to the sport’s roots, having claimed the 1971 Victorian Rally Championship.

Included in the replica offering will be a spot-on Subaru Legacy RS, representing the example campaigned by Possum Bourne and Rodger Freeth in the 1992 Rothmans Rally of New Zealand, with a red-hot Mitsubishi GTO thrown into the mix.

The unique event offers incredible access to the machinery and drivers, with a range of sideshows also on offer for fans.

Gates open at 10am, with on-track runs kicking off at 11:10am, with admission only $10 per person.

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