The Col du Turini is probably the most famous rally stage in the world, used as one of the penultimate tests in the most famous rally in the world, the Monte Carlo Rally. The test starts in one village where the road snakes up and over the Col before the steep descent down the other side to the finish in the village at the bottom. Starting off on dry, grippy asphalt the stage goes through places of black ice, snow and slush before returning to dry, grippy asphalt as the altitude drops. This is a real challenge to the drivers as grip is at a premium, speed is high and the risks are higher. Four weeks ago this is where Inverness driver, Donnie Macdonald started his 2013 rally season, watching the World Rally Championship stars master the Turini whilst he stood warm and secure in the VW Motorsport hospitality area.
This weekend it is Donnie’s turn to play the rallying version of the Monte Carlo Casino roulette wheel when he tackles the Arnold Clark-Thistle Hotels Snowman Rally. The rally takes in many stages like Col du Turini; starting down at low level before climbing the equivalent of a Munro instead of a French Alp. All but the last stage are held at heights of around 600m, climbing up the steep slopes that the Forestry Commission-Scotland gravel tracks have been carved into. This means that snow and ice are a hazard that is still very possible around every corner and over every crest where the drivers have to commit to their line and to keep the highest speed.