PH BLOG: PR BY PROXY
Is the view from the passenger seat ever worth hearing about?
There are certain cases - F-Type being one of them and Harris's ride in the 918 Spyder another - where a car is sufficiently interesting and exciting that, dammit, we'll shamelessly accept any opportunity to get close.
My trip to the Monte Carlo Historique was another 'ridealong' invitation too but one with wider interest. Seeing a celebrated car being put through its paces by someone linked with its glorious heritage is always a pleasure. Jean Claude Andruet is perhaps not as well known outside of Alpine circles as many but the chance to ride beside him down the Turini was too good to miss.
BMW's Ian Robertson recently a case in point. The creepy resemblance to Tony Blair goes more than skin deep.
But purely by chance - there were loads of cars going up and down the Turini and I only ended up with Tavares by accident - here I was with the boss of Renault in his racing suit and bootees following an iconic sports car up an equally famous rally stage. This wasn't Tavares in a sharp suit delivering soundbites at a motor show. This was the unashamed petrolhead giving it absolute death in one of his own products just for the sheer hell of it. And the guy can drive. To experience that and then sit down alongside the guys who'll be building the new Alpine-Caterham on his watch was accidental but very effective PR in action. I'll have to try and regain some journalistic cynicism before committing anything to publication based on this but, suffice to say, I came away impressed.
a manual Clio 200.
But you have to hope that these glimpses of proper, petrolhead enthusiasm in the business do suggest there are some still on our wavelength. Whichever seat you happen to see them from.
[Sources: Sniff Petrol]