Then it’s more or less arrow straight to Torquay apart from a few junctions: M4, M5. It’s dark but the end is in sight, and the i30 N is a decent motorway car too. It’s not where the i30 impresses most but is, let’s face it, where it’ll spend large amounts of time. The ride is composed, noise are levels low, the audio and infotainment are below best in class but bearable.
On coming off the motorway, there’s a short few bits of dual carriageway, a few roundabouts to enjoy and we’re into Torquay at around 9pm: with pictures and detours, 1145 miles covered, at 32mpg, in a little over 30 hours, not including our overnight stop but including all the other faffing.
We head to the seafront for a final photoshoot and some “riotous living”. There isn’t much of that going on, so we go to the arcades; I fail to win a sloth and so become one for the next eight hours instead. Unlike 1932, there’s a bit less adventure to driving the length of England plus a bit these days, I’m afraid. Though the cars are rather better.
What to expect from Wales rally GB:
Volkswagen’s shock withdrawal ahead of this season was a blow to the World Rally Championship – but it has also made things far more competitive.
Well, sort of. Triple champion Sébastien Ogier, driving for the privateer M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC team, has a big points lead thanks to two wins and a string of consistent finishes, and can clinch the title at the Wales Rally GB this week.
Despite his lead, it’s been an open season, with six winners from 11 rounds. Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville has been arguably the fastest driver, but his three wins have been accompanied by crashes and problems in his i20 WRC.
Two definitely worth watching will be the UK drivers. Northern Ireland's Kris Meeke triumphed on the last round in Spain after a difficult spell in his Citroën C3 WRC, while Welshman Elfyn Evans (M-Sport Ford) came agonisingly close to his first win in Argentina and could star on his local stages.
How the RAC Rally began:
The Autocar, as it was known then, was at the heart of the creation of the first RAC Rally. Inspired by the popularity of the Monte Carlo Rally, a group of British drivers (including a director of this very publication) who regularly took part in that event came up with the idea of a similar event to promote the joys of the English Riviera.
Autocar sent a representative to Torquay and then suggested the idea to the Royal Automobile Club, which enthusiastically took on organisation for the inaugural event on 1-4 March 1932. Nine start points around the UK were chosen, each following a 1000-mile route to Torquay, with the crews of the 349 starters hopefully arriving on Thursday 3 March, in time for a tea reception held by the mayor at the Medical Baths. The event concluded the following day with a series of driving tests: running as slowly as possible in top gear for 100 yards, an acceleration test and a brake test.