Friday 24 November 2017

Gumball Rally is no hassle for the Hoff

It's party central as city plays host to €80m of fast cars and Mr Baywatch himself, writes Mark O'Regan

Professional LeMans driver Ollie Webb in a BAC Mono car on Merrion square as cars gather for the race. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Professional LeMans driver Ollie Webb in a BAC Mono car on Merrion square as cars gather for the race. Photo: Gerry Mooney
SPEED CHECK: Garda Neil Crowley has a word with LeMans driver Ollie Webb who was spotted doing doughnuts on Merrion Square as cars gather for the race to be started. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Rapper Eve gets race ready. Photo: Gerry Mooney
David Hasslehoff arrives at The Marker Hotel in Dublin ahead of the start of Gumball 3000. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

He's famous for driving one of the most iconic TV cars ever - KITT from Knight Rider.

But today US actor David Hasselhoff, who made his name as a 'Baywatch' sex symbol, will lead a galaxy of super cars worth more than €80m along the streets of Dublin.

The Hoff will be centre stage to mark the 18th anniversary of the Gumball 3000 rally.

Also in town to add further hype to this motoring love-in is US rap singer Eve.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, she enthused "Dublin is a beautiful city".

"I was here 16 years ago for an interview with a radio show," she said. "It's such a cool city so I'd love to come back for a vacation when the weather gets a bit warmer.

"I've made so many great friends as part of Gumball. It's great to see all the new people taking part each year. There's such great energy around the place; and everyone is here for an adventure, and a shared love of cars."

Yesterday, a fleet of Bugatti, Rolls Royces, Lamborghinis, Porsches and Bentleys, glistened in the summer sunshine as they were paraded around Merrion Square.

The guttural roar of a sleek Ferrari Enzo - adorned with a license plate 'WILD1' - was met with unrestrained shouts of approval from over 1,000 car enthusiasts lining the streets.

All were eager to catch an up-close and personal glimpse of the world's most expensive motors.

The epic rally series, which started in 1999, is legendary not only for its fast cars, but the booze-filled parties it has spawned over the years.

It is inspired by the 1976 film and sees motor enthusiasts take their luxury vehicles along miles of public roads, across an array of countries.

Hollywood actor David Hasselhoff will be on hand to drop the flag on the annual race when it roars into action today at 10am. This year the international rally will wind through Belfast, and on to Edinburgh and beyond, on a 3,000-mile journey across Europe to the edge of Asia.

The event attracts assorted millionaires and playboys, who indulge high speed driving during the day, before throwing lavish parties at various stopover points once evening falls.

Drivers from more than 30 different countries will take part in this year's event, which has more than 100 million followers on social media.

Some 60 million people will view the action on television across the world.

Competitors will race through 11 countries before arriving in Bucharest on May 7.

As well as The Hoff, other competitors include DJ Afrojack, and retired Formula 1 racing drivers David Coulthard and Jean Alesi.

In total, the Gumball 3000 has visited 38 different countries.

The event began in 1999 and has since become a global brand, raising millions for charity.

Sunday Independent

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