Ten Drivers in Ten Minutes

Say what you like, but hand on heart I'd take this over a book any day...

There’s one of these list things going around on Facebook at the moment that asks you to list ten authors who have influenced you the most in ten minutes. Now, I am a pleb when it comes to books (and most things for that matter) and find it far easier to do these kinds of lists on a subject close to my heart – namely, motor sport. Not wishing to annoy my Facebook friends with such a list, however, I’ve elected to post here a range of drivers who have made the biggest impression on me. Enjoy…

  • Colin McRae – what can I say other than that he’s a legend! Embodies everything a rally driver ought/should be, and the fact he’s a Scot is a happy coincidence. The fastest rally driver ever, is to rallying what Tony Hawk is to skateboarding.
  • Jean Ragnotti – awesome at driving a Renault Clio on its doorhandles. Spectacular to watch, and not a bad stunt driver either having done James Bond films. Had the pleasure of meeting him at Goodwood a few years back.
  • Michael Schumacher – like him or not, you can’t argue with the records. Sadly his comeback has tarnished his reputation a little, but growing up and watching Schumi winning in the Ferrari I knew I was seeing history in the making.
  • Kamui Kobayashi – like McRae, maybe not the most precise or skilled in his field, but a man who races with his heart. He perhaps won’t win titles or even races, but I’d take one Kobayashi over twenty Jenson Buttons any day of the week.
  • Gilles Villeneuve – for much the same reasons as McRae and Kobayashi, I’d have Gilles Villeneuve on my list. I’m normally not one of these people who likes to have the usual suspects on these lists, but Gilles was awesome. Thank goodness for YouTube so youngsters like me can see his exploits.
  • Ari Vatanen – a terrific driver and just as importantly, a great sportsman. Proves that nice guys don’t always finish last. If I ever have children who want to go racing, I’ll make sure they know about Vatanen as an example of how to conduct yourself out of the car.
  • David ‘DIGB’ Barlow – an enthusiastic clubman competitor, but what’s more impressive is what he’s done for rally driving in Scotland. See all these brilliant young Scottish drivers coming up through the ranks right up to international level? Virually all of them started out in the Ecosse Challenge that DIGB set up for young drivers.
  • Allan McNish – possibly the smallest man I have ever met, if you didn’t know who he was you would think he was a jockey. Brilliant endurance car racer, and one of those Scottish sportspeople who I feel never gets the full credit he deserves for being one of the very best in the world.
  • Futoshi Murase – I’m not trying to include obscure Japanese drivers for the sake of it (unintentional pun there on ‘sake’ and the famous Japanese alcohol, sorry…) But Murase’s hammering of a Honda Civic on YouTube is just staggering to watch – what a driver!
  • Sebastien Loeb – no list could be complete without the seven-times World Rally Champion. Some might argue that there’s nobody for him to beat, but to win fifty-odd rallies and seven titles in a  sport where it’s so hard to be dominant is nothing short of staggering. Just because the WRC’s shrinking doesn’t mean it’s slowing down, and I’d be willing to wager Loeb could beat anyone in the world on a rally stage.
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