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– Volvo rolls back the years on WRGB National Rally
– Celebrating the achievements of Swedish legend Tom Trana
– Herefordshire-based team joins world championship show
– Tickets on sale with significant savings for those booking now

Volvo may no longer be synonymous with rally sport but, once upon a time, that was far from the case. Indeed, a rugged Volvo PV544 driven by Swedish legend Tom Trana won back-to-back Rally GBs in 1963 and 1964.

Two years later Trana returned to the podium, this time finishing third in one of Volvo’s more modern Amazon saloons – an achievement which will be heralded on next month’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (26-29 October), as the UK’s annual round of the FIA World Rally Championship is now titled.

Keen to mark that 1966 milestone, Ken Davies from Hereford has entered this year’s event in his own classic Volvo Amazon rally car. Adding to the significance, with the 1967 event being cancelled due to foot and mouth disease, this is the 50th Rally GB since Volvo’s last hurrah back in 1966.

“My co-driver Alan Jones mentioned the time scale, so we thought we really ought to have a go on this year’s event,” said Davies, aged 67, who has owned his mighty Amazon for the past six years.

“I wanted something different from the historic Escorts that everyone else seems to rally, so I really fancied the Volvo when it came up for sale,” he explained. “It’s a car that everyone loves – it must be the one of the most photographed in the woods. It’s quite hard to drive compared to modern machines but it’s great fun and we are getting quicker and quicker.”

The evocative Amazon is one of a large number of crowd-pleasing historic rally cars contesting the three-day WRGB National Rally which shadows the full FIA World Championship event. Other eye-catchers include a number of Peugeot 205 GTIs, a Datsun 240Z, a brace of VW Beetles plus lots of evergreen – and ever sideways – Ford Escorts.

Adding to the sense of occasion, all the National Rally competitors are based alongside the WRC stars at the main Rally Village in Deeside. They also enjoy a Ceremonial Start under the spotlights in central Chester on Friday afternoon before the competition commences with a spectacular opening speed test at the family-friendly Toyota RallyFest at Cholmondeley Castle on Saturday morning.

The locale then switches to the legendary Welsh forests, with a further seven special stages before the finishers are hailed on Mostyn Street in Llandudno on Sunday afternoon. It all adds up to 60-miles of spectacular against-the-clock action.

“By all accounts it’s going to be a tough event,” admitted Davies. “However this particular Amazon was originally built to compete in the East African Classic Safari Rally, so it’s pretty robust if a little overweight.”

Indeed, Volvo named the Amazon after the fierce female warriors in Greek mythology and, as Trana proved, it was a pretty feisty beast in its heyday.

Back in 1966 there were two Volvos on a Rally GB entry list dominated by Minis and Ford Cortinas. It was a star-studded line-up, too, featuring F1 world champions Jim Clark and Graham Hill plus a host of rally legends including Paddy Hopkirk, Timo Mäkinen and Roger Clark.

Despite the presence of such high-profile talent, victory went to the Ford Lotus Cortina of Bengt Söderström with fellow Swedes Harry Källström (Mini Cooper S) and Amazon ace Trana joining him on the podium.

Sadly, Volvo’s rally hero passed away in 1991 aged 53, but his name will always be immortally linked with the Scandinavian marque. Now his remarkable Rally GB legacy will be back in the spotlight when Davies takes his iconic Amazon into the Welsh forests at the end of October.

Tickets for Dayinsure Wales Rally GB – which includes admission to the WRGB National Rally – are on sale with significant savings for those buying in advance. If purchased now, adult day tickets are available for just £28 with accompanied children aged under 16 admitted free of charge.

Full details of the 2017 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB including route, timetable and ticket information can be found on the official website.

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