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VIDEO: Classic cars take to George Square as Monte Carlo Rally prepares to return to Glasgow

Passers-by stopped to admire a classic Mini in Glasgow’s George Square as a preview of the upcoming Monte Carlo Rally.

Up to 100 classic cars will gather in the city centre square on January 29 as Glasgow hosts the only British start point for the annual rally event.

Competing crews will set off from the start ramp in front of the City Chambers from 7pm onwards, with 1,300 miles of road to cover to get to the south of France.

The 2020 event will be the 10th since it returned to Scotland, and the start is being supported by Glasgow Life, the charity that delivers cultural, sporting and learning activities on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

Monte Carlo Mini

The 1966 Mk1 Austin Mini Cooper S 1275 is an exact replica of the five cars which took the team prize in the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally in the hands of, among others, rally legend Paddy Hopkirk. One of them, driven by Rauno Aaltonen and Henry Liddon, took first place.

All were known as the LBL cars from their registration plates and the owner of the replica car, Geoff Marr from Stirling, has managed to repeat that by securing the plate LBL10D for his car.

He has spent the past four years rebuilding it into a convincing “Works” Monte Mini, even sourcing genuine parts and equipment including the original Monte Carlo Rally plaque.

Some of the drivers with their cars outside the City Chambers

For the classic event, cars and crews will compete in three separate categories.

The Historique class is being run for the 23rd year and is restricted to car models which competed in the Monte Carlo Rallies between 1955 and 1980.

It will run over eight days on open public roads with the cars and crews undertaking a series of fourteen demanding test stages in the mountains of southern France.

The Classique event is for older cars from as early as 1911 to 1965 and follows the same route to Monte Carlo but does not include any test stages, the goal simply being to finish in Monte Carlo after checking in at a series of control points on the way.

Once again the event also features the popular Monte Heritage Runs which will link with the full-scale events and will take in a series of short classic routes in Scotland including starts from John O’Groats and Aberdeen. Already, eleven crews have registered to make the start from the northernmost landmark.

Before the cars set off, there will be a classic car show in George Square during the afternoon, along with entertainment for spectators who’ll enjoy the unique atmosphere of a Monte Start and give the competitors a rousing Scottish send-off.

Billy Garrett, Director of Sport and Events for Glasgow Life, said: “The start of the Monte Carlo Rally will see some of the classic vehicles of yesteryear back on the streets of Glasgow next year.

“It will be a fantastic chance to see some of the greatest automobiles ever made up close and in action as they head off on their journey to Monte Carlo.”

Event Director Douglas Anderson said: “Glasgow is one of Europe’s great cities and everyone involved in the organisation of this event is delighted to be back here for the 2020 start.

“Once again it will raise the profile of the city to an international audience and I’m sure the competitors’ send-off from George Square will be an occasion never to be forgotten.

“The Monte belongs to Glasgow”.