Champion set for an Imprez-ive Christmas

Ryan Champion behind the wheel of his Subaru Impreza
Ryan Champion behind the wheel of his Subaru Impreza
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AN ICONIC rally car owned by a Castleton racing Champion is set to feature in a BBC documentary about the legendary driver, Colin McRae.

The original Prodrive Subaru Impreza, now owned by Ryan Champion, is also set to join a line-up of cars entered for Croft Circuit’s forthcoming Christmas Stages Rally on 29 December.

Ryan Champion behind the wheel of his Subaru Impreza

Ryan Champion behind the wheel of his Subaru Impreza

Ryan said: “It’s quite odd knowing that people will be able to watch my car in the BBC documentary on Friday 28 December with Chris Hoy driving it and then come and see me driving it at Croft the following day in the Christmas Stages Rally.

“For me it’s a great chance to get out there and blow away the cobwebs. I haven’t rallied competitively recently, but it was great fun doing the documentary with Chris Hoy. He’s shown an interest in taking up motor sport and he was actually pretty good behind the wheel when he drove the Subaru.”

The iconic car with one of the crack Prodrive team’s famed registration plates – N555 BAT – was originally rallied by Italy’s Piero Liatti and France’s Didier Auriol alongside the sister car of the late McRae when he dominated the World Rallying scene in the mid-Nineties.

More recently Olympic gold medal hero Sir Chris Hoy MBE has driven the Subaru during the making of a forthcoming BBC documentary about fellow Scotsman McRae’s career.

Ryan Champion behind the wheel of his Subaru Impreza

Ryan Champion behind the wheel of his Subaru Impreza

The car’s owner Ryan Champion, from Whitby and himself one of Britain’s top rally drivers in recent years, has now been tempted to enter it for the Christmas Stages Rally which takes place in the grounds of North Yorkshire’s Croft Circuit just outside Darlington on Saturday 29 Dec.

It is anticipated he and Northallerton’s Kevin Procter, in a more modern Subaru Impreza WRC, could be set for a titanic battle. Two more notable entries are two latest-spec Proton Satria Neo S2000s which have contested this year’s World Rally Championship plus Darlington’s Paul Swift, this year’s North of England Tarmacadam Rally Champion.

Ryan added: “I’m expecting a very tough fight with Kevin Procter – if it’s icy or a bit greasy then we have a chance, but if it’s fully dry then I think he might have the upper hand. Don’t get me wrong… his car might have a few more tricks than mine but he is still a superb driver. There’s also lots of quality elsewhere on the entry list and the public are in for a real spectacle and plenty of variety.”

In all, event organiser the Northallerton Automobile Club has received more than 60 entries with more than two weeks still to go for what is traditionally a popular event among competitors and fans.

Tickets for Croft’s Christmas Stages Rally can be purchased for £7 per adult if booked today (Friday 14 December). Otherwise it will be £10 on the gate. Admission for accompanied children aged 15 and under is free. Gates open at 8am with the rally getting under way at 9am. For more information or to book tickets visit www.croftcircuit.co.uk