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15,000 watch start of car rally

Thousands of spectators have turned out to wave off a convoy of classic cars as they left on a non-stop 2,000-mile rally to Monaco.

Organisers said around 15,000 people gathered to watch the vehicles, including Lancias, Triumphs and Porsches, as they left Glasgow as part of the 2013 Monte Carlo Classic Rally.

It was first held in 1911 and drivers typically start in different European cities of roughly equal distance from Monte Carlo.

Crowds gathered at the People's Palace as around 100 vehicles, ranging from a 1920s Citroen to a 1970s Porsche 924, crossed the starting ramp at one-minute intervals.

The 40 cars going all the way to Monte Carlo are expected to arrive next week after driving from Glasgow to a ferry at Dover and then heading south over the French Alps, if all goes to plan.

Douglas Anderson, chief organiser, said the send-off had exceeded all expectations.

"Once again, the people of Glasgow have taken this event to its heart," he said. "We had 9,000 people in 2011, we thought we'd get 12,000 this time and we've got over 15,000. It's amazing. The spectators were lined up over an hour before the start."

Glasgow is among four host cities, along with Barcelona, Copenhagen and Reims.

Scott Taylor, chief executive of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: "To get over 15,000 spectators is beyond expectations. I think we have an Olympic and Commonwealth Games effect at the moment."

Teams leaving from the city included entries from Australia, Malta, the Czech Republic and France, with those taking part in the rally ranging from serious drivers to recreational drivers hoping to enjoy a unique trip.


From Belfast Telegraph