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The race is on ... REVVED UP Party time in Paisley as Buddies wave off Monte Carlo rally drivers.

Byline: David Campbell

There was a party atmosphere in the town centre as Paisley gave a big send-off to the cars and crews in the 2018 historic rally run to Monte Carlo.

A total of 70 cars left the start ramp - the largest number of entries so far - with the first 24 of them now on the 1500-mile trip to the South of France.

But for 10-year-old Emilia Kozlowska, of St John Ogilvie Primary School in Paisley, it was a very special occasion.

She won a Renfrewshire-wide school competition to design the flag to be used to wave off the drivers, and she joined Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron on the start ramp with her flag to send the cars on their way.

It was the fifth time the town - the sole shortlisted Scottish entry for the title UK City of Culture 2021 - was the only British start point of six European cities.

A crowd of thousands gathered in the centre of Paisley with the magnificent backdrop of the abbey to wave off the crews in a party atmosphere with lights, music, street food and pyrotechnics.

Working with staff from Renfrewshire Council and volunteers from many motorsport clubs in Scotland, the organisers made sure this year's start was bigger and better than ever.

Renfrewshire's provost, Lorraine Cameron, said: "We were thrilled to welcome back the Monte Carlo Classic Rally to Paisley for a fifth year . "The sight of the cars gathered outside Paisley Abbey always makes a fantastic spectacle and brings a great turnout.

"This is the first event in Renfrewshire's 2018 major events programme, which aims to bring footfall into our town centres and showcase our unique attractions to visitors.

"Paisley's bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 had a hugely positive impact on the town's profile and reputation and we will build on that with another great year of major events."

Douglas Anderson, the UK coordinator and the man responsible for bringing the rally back to Scotland in 2011, led the cars off to Monte Carlo in his 1961 Triumph Herald Coupe.

We were thrilled to welcome back the Monte Carlo Classic Rally to Paisley for the fifth year Provost Lorraine Cameron

CAPTION(S):

Sunday driving The rally proved a hit with the punters

Hitting the road This partnership is hoping to go all the way

Family fun James Valley, three, from Seedhill, Paisley

And they're off Drivers get going in the race

Hats off Gordon Best, 74, from Alva, in his P4 Rover 100

Gearing up Drivers prepare for the big send-off

Point the way Actors from Mischief La Bas have fun at the rally

Love is in the air Gerard Thill and Colette Roubaud, from France, with their Saab

Fly the flag Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron and Emilia Kozlowska who designed the starters flag for the event

On your marks The colourful convoy set off in style

Light the way This classic Ford got off to a good start

Vintage Classic cars from through the years are taking part

Team work Alan Falconer David Tindal and Stephen Woods, from Angus, with the Ford prefect 1956

Tuning up Making sure the oil is topped up

No speeding Motorbike cops checking out the cars

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Paisley Daily Express (Paisley, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 2, 2018
Words:536
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