The stage, designed by former champion Hannu Mikkola using existing tracks through the woodland on the Goodwood estate. Both modern and historic cars go through the stage all weekend with famous rally drivers past and present at the wheel, taking the opportunity to drive other cars as well as their own machines.
Among the well-known names from the past were Carlos Sainz, Paddy Hopkirk and Jean Ragnotti.
There were modern cars from stage sponsor Skoda, who had their S2000 Fabia plus Citroen (DS3 WRC) and Volkswagen with their Polo WRC driven by Sebastian Ogier
Mikko Hirvonen was out in the DS3 and the Richard Burns Foundation were auctioning the chance to be driven round the stage by him.
The Porsche 911 50th birthday celebrations were continued in the rally stage with several historic examples competing on the stage.
The crowd favourite group B cars were back with Metro 6R4s, Audi Quattros and a Ford RS200 all present.
There were some very unusual cars such as a Lada Riva from the 80’s which is considerably faster than the road car it was based on.
As well as its modern Fabia, the stage sponsors Skoda had some older machinery too. Always successful in rallying all the cars were previous winners in their class.
Toyota had an impressive line up from Corolla’s from the 1970’s through to mighty Celicas and Corolla WRC cars which had much success in the 90’s. They also had the biggest vehicle, a Dakar Rally Hi Lux pick-up truck which barely fit through the narrower parts of the stage.
It’s always a long walk up or a very bumpy tractor ride to the stage but well worth it for rally fans and even non rally fans can’t failed to be impressed by the driving around the stage including an impressive jump were the quickest cars get fully airborne.
Despite the quick and tricky nature of the stage, there were few incidents over the weekend although a couple of cars did roll but with no injuries to the drivers other than wounded pride.
The Stages paddock area is next to the collecting area for the top of the hill climb course so you can catch what’s going on there too as well as meeting those drivers as they wait to go back down. Some of the rally cars competing on the hill will go on to complete the stage after they reach the top before heading back down!
If you’ve never experienced the stage on a visit to Goodwood then you’ve really been missing out and a trip to the top of the hill is recommended next year! By Marc Waller