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Skoda uk and fifth gear tv rally to the cause

8th December 2011 Print

Skoda UK Motorsport’s 2011 IRC champion Andreas Mikkelsen has teamed up with Fifth Gear TV’s Vicki Butler-Henderson to put the spotlight on one of the UK’s most affordable and enjoyable forms of motorsport. To be broadcast on Friday 9 December on Channel 5, Vicki and Andreas contested a 12-car navigational rally, the Zebulon Pike Rally, organised by the Loughborough Car Club in Leicestershire.

More than 300 similar events are organised by MSA-registered motor clubs. No special equipment or licences are required beyond a road-legal car and the ability to read a map. Competitors are given a set of clues, which they must crack while averaging 30mph between a series of checkpoints.

One of the world’s most promising young rally stars, Mikkelsen was charged with driving a standard 180bhp Skoda Fabia vRS – the showroom version of the 22-year-old Norwegian’s Fabia S2000 competition car – while Butler-Henderson took on the navigational duties.

“I didn’t really know what to expect and map reading isn’t my specialist subject as I can get lost in a car park!” admitted Vicki. “As total novices, we were given extra time to plot the route and, although we made several errors, we didn’t finish last and we had a real giggle. It was a terrific way to spend an evening. You exercise your brain, enjoy plenty of good banter and participate in a great sport with some healthy competition, all for a £15 entry fee and the cost of a few litres of fuel.”

Andreas Mikkelsen, the Skoda UK IRC Champion adds: “It was very different to anything I have done before. It was great fun and clearly a fantastic way to start in motorsport. It’s important for a young driver to gain experience any way he or she can and, more importantly, it’s the perfect place for a budding co-driver to start off. I can now see why Britain has produced so many top world championship co-drivers over the years.”

Mikkelsen was also impressed with his Fabia vRS: “We did our event in a Skoda Fabia vRS. The country lanes were quite bumpy and narrow, but the car was really impressive.  Now that I know what we’re supposed to do it would be really nice to do a navigational rally again – and see if we can improve on our finishing position!”

Butler-Henderson is one of many high-profile ambassadors supporting Go Motorsport – the Motor Sports Association’s campaign to help more people into motorsport – and is keen to promote the availability of such activities.

“I’m passionate about grass roots motorsport,” she confirmed. “Twelve-car navigational rallies certainly fit that bill – you can do them in your own road car without any bespoke equipment beyond a 2B pencil and torch.”

Colin Hilton, Chief Executive of the MSA adds: “Whether it’s 12-cars, production car trials or autotests, there is a wealth of possibilities available to those looking to enjoy club level motorsport for a very modest outlay.”

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