MORE than 10,000 people turned out tonight to wave off around 100 classic cars setting off from Paisley Abbey for the Monte Carlo Classic Rally.
Legendary racing driver Paddy Hopkirk helped send the cars off at the only UK start point for the world-famous event, 50 years on from his famous victory at the rally.
The cars set out from the town on their 1,670-mile journey to the French Riviera and will be joined by cars leaving from other host cities – Stockholm, Oslo, Barcelona and Reims. The ceremonial first car over the ramp was driven by 1960s female rallying trailblazer Rosemary Smith, partnered by Douglas Anderson, chair of the Rally Start Committee.
The cars, which include Porsches, Triumphs, BMWs and Mini Coopers, were due to head south via the M77 and through Mauchline and Cumnock en route to Monte Carlo, via the Channel Tunnel, then over the Alps.
Mark Macmillan, leader of Renfrewshire Council, said: “Paisley is building a reputation as a venue for top-class town-centre events – and hosting the Rally is just the latest boost to that. We were delighted to see the Renfrewshire public get behind the event in such numbers and enjoy the spectacle of the occasion.”
Douglas Anderson said: “Once again, the response from the public has been incredible. This is a truly international spectacle and we hope to bring the event back to Scotland in 2015.”