Published: 21:00, 23 May 2014
The world's best rallycross drivers and a paddock full of immaculate machines got comfy at Lydden Hill today ahead of a bumper weekend of action.
From tomorrow, the Canterbury track will host its first-ever FIA World Rallycross Championship round and today saw a record field of 38 Supercars come through its gates.
There may have been no action on track, but the idyllic circuit was alive with anticipation as the teams, drivers and mechanics all got set for a packed weekend.
With its all-new control tower in action for the first time, the one-mile circuit looked smart and circuit owner Pat Doran can't wait for the weekend to start.
"It's fantastic," he said. "The new tower is a breath of fresh air and everyone has worked so hard.
"Everyone is happy to bring it (World Rallycross) here and Russians, Americans, people from all over will come here.
"You can't get a hotel close to here this weekend."
With four championships in action over both days - Supercar, Super 1600, Touring Car and RX Lite classes - the paddock was full to the brim with rallycross machines.
Among the throng of competitors present was 2003 World Rally Champion Petter Solberg, who enters this weekend with confidence after winning the opening round in Portugal three weeks ago.
"There are so many cars here; it's never easy to win," he said.
"It will be a fantastic weekend and the car is working well - we will find out this weekend."
Elsewhere, ex-Formula 1 racer Nelson Piquet Junior had his first look at Lydden before he enters the RX Lites class tomorrow.
"It's not my first rallycross but first time here in Europe," he commented.
"It looks pretty simple (the circuit,) a lot of asphalt."
The Brazilian is aiming high, too: "To win it, obviously, there's no reason not to," he said.
Whilst Piquet Junior tries his hand in the Lites class, four British drivers will tackle the flame-spitting Supercars this weekend.
Among them is multiple British Rallycross champion Julian Godfrey who would be delighted to reach the semi-final stage in his Ford Fiesta.
But Kevin Procter won't be in action after his brand new Fiesta could not be finished in time for the event.
British fans will have another man to cheer on too, though, as Phil Chicken enters the Super 1600 class in his Citroen C2.
Up against tough competition, Chicken knows it won't be easy but said: "If nothing else, my little boy has gone to school with a grin today as Dad's racing in the World Rallycross Championship."
Some teams had been at Lydden since Wednesday but will hit the track for the first time tomorrow - with 10,000 to 15,000 spectators hoped for over the weekend.
Action starts at 9am on Saturday and 10.30 on Sunday.
Adult admission on Saturday, May 24, is £20, on Sunday, May 25, £25. Weekend general admission is £40. Accompanied children under 12 go free.
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