Glasgow to host 2013 Monte Carlo Classic Rally

Austin Healey 3000 MK II About 100 classic cars will be in Glasgow on 26 January

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One of world's most famous motorsport events is returning to Scotland.

Organisers of the Monte Carlo Classic Rally have confirmed Glasgow as a host city for 2013, along with Barcelona, Reims and Copenhagen.

About 100 classic cars will be on display in the city on 26 January before they set off from the People's Palace, at Glasgow Green.

The cars will pass through Kilmarnock and Dumfries before heading to Monte Carlo via Dover.

More than 9,000 spectators saw the centenary rally in 2011 at Glasgow's Blythswood Square - an event which is estimated to have generated £1m for the city's economy.

Glasgow previously served as a starting venue for racers from 1949 until 1973.

Up to 12,000 people are expected at the new rally start point at the People's Palace in 2013.

'Overwhelming response'

The drivers will travel 2,000km from the city to Monte Carlo in Monaco - a journey expected to take about two days.

In the morning, before the main event, 50 classic cars, such as Porsches and Lancias, from the 1920 to 1980 era, will be on display in the city's Buchanan Street.

Start Quote

This extremely colourful and exciting event will not only attract hundreds of visitors...but will generate significant benefits for Glasgow's economy”

End Quote Councillor Gordon Matheson Glasgow City Council leader

Speaking at the launch conference, Douglas Anderson, spokesman for the rally organising committee said: "The Monte Carlo rally start was a huge part of Glasgow life in the 50s and 60s and many of us remember watching the cars leaving Blythswood Square.

"In those days, you would get a few thousand spectators. When we brought the rally back, after a 38 year absence, in 2011, the response was overwhelming and we started looking at a venue to accommodate more spectators.

"We believe the venue change and the other side-shows could mean it will attract the biggest crowd of any UK start since the rally's birth in 1911."

Crews from Australia, the Czech Republic, Malta and France will join the UK starters in Glasgow.

They will cross the Channel at Dover then drive to Valence for the start of the famous concentration runs in the Alps before emerging at Monte Carlo.

Around 40 cars leaving from Glasgow will attempt to go all the way, with a further 60 classic cars from all eras joining them over the start ramp in additional support events.

Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson said: "The Monte Carlo Rally is one of the most famous motor sport events in the world and one which Glasgow has enjoyed a long and illustrious connection with.

'Spiritual home'

"As a city famous for hosting the start of the rally in the 1950s and 60s, I'm delighted that it will once again return to its spiritual home in 2013.

"This extremely colourful and exciting event will not only attract hundreds of visitors, including teams from all over the world, but will generate significant benefits for Glasgow's economy."

The rally was created by Prince Albert I of Monaco and initially featured 23 cars starting from six different European cities.

Only 16 completed it in 1911, with Henri Rougier winning in a Turcat-Mery.

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