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INTERVIEWS

Metro 6R4 Online News.co.uk would like to thank former Metro 6R4 driver Steve Sofroniou to the Facebook Metro 6R4 Online News Chat page. Steve when did you first compete and what was your first RallycarA. My first event was the Denzil Evans stages at pembrey in 1988My first rally car was the metro 6R4 I was at Bill Gwynne's rally school I decided to go there after spectating and after standing in the pissing rain I thought I could go faster so bill said I wasn't wasting my time I had already tried a Sierra Cosworth GR N at Phil Collins place in Herefordshire I wasn't impressed after that an Opel Manta 400 lovely powerful and had that smell only a rally car has also an immaculate RS2000 very quick , then as I said I was talking to bill after I had finished and suddenly I could hear a rally car pull up and I was introduced to Ian Beveridge who came to bed his car in before an event all I can say is I'd found the holy grail OMG that was it he threw that car around to my total disbelief that was it I'm going to get a 6r4 bill looked at me with a raised eyebrow. we chose an event and the rest is history and as I said my first rally was a baptism of fire off at every opportunity spins everywhereI really thought and doubted myself then I realised I didn't enter a drift event tidied everything up and persevered second place was my reward. How did you come about to getting a 6R4 and why did you chose the car?A. Whilst looking around for a suitable car bill called me and said he knew where I could buy one so off I went to gates of Harlow in Essex I was shown what later turned out to be Harri Toivenen's Thousand Lakes car and also 40 yes 40 CLUBMAN 6R4s it didn't take long I span around three times and put my hand on one she was mine at £14,000 big ones, and whilst there we spoke to Robin Herd and he wanted one too. I negotiated with bill to get the car ready to rally I then made the decision to take my car to David Appleby and he offered me a deal I couldn't refuse a van full of parts and trailer arrive and drive and all the parts I could ever want from Austin rover. What Championships / events in the years you had the Metro did you compete on?A. I wanted more,I chose to do the welsh TARMAC championship and the competition was Peter Lloyd bob fowden and previous class winners Lloyd got a metro half way through the season and we had some titanic battles we scored maximum points with eleven wins the title was mine and despite a few people moaning I was a pot hunter I was happy very happy I'd also had the chance to drive the last few rounds with international fuel injection my word that car flew ! I decided to do the motoring news championship and after finishing west cork rally in fifth I was catching drivers who I used to read about Ritchie Healy, Vincent Mead and Austin McHale. I'd moved up a big notch but catching these guys in stage I just couldn't believe it but we were forced to run with a three minute penalty which was harsh any way I came away knowing that on scratch times I was up with them and set two fastest times and with none of the Irish guys registered for points we came away leading the motoring news championship ! Tour of Cornwall was next we finished fourth but still leading the championship. Unfortunately everything changed with a very important deal in our family business in Cyprus involving a hotel and my championship was all over. When you contested the Burmah Lurgan Park event in the 6R4 what made you want to do that Rally?A. I found myself finishing off the season with some remarkable results .I recieved a phone call from the organisers of the Lurgan Park Rally inviting me to compete I didn't need asking again and I was with Tony Pond one day and he said “I'm going to do that rally.” I thought he was joking , he wasn't over we went and finished in 5th overall.When did you stop driving the 6R4 and who did you sell it on to?A. After competing and winning yet more rallies I decided that because of business I would rest up the metro only one day Andrew Nesbitt who had seen my car wanted it and offered me a substantial sum of money also Prodrive had said to me that Bill Connolly wanted it so I accepted Andrews offer he then won seven rounds in Ireland. You drove a Rover 820 on events and for what reason did you pick that car and what was the history of that.A. The Rover 820 was the first car built for Tony to do the Isle of Man challenge, I said for some fun lets do the Wydean and had a ball and it lined me up to challenge. The following year when I hired a Grp N Sierra Cosworth 4wd and were leading until lunchtime by which time the snow had melted and my gamble for skinny snow tyres backfired the car was Undriveable, but anyway we showed people that I wasn't a one trick pony. After you retired from Rallying what did you decide to do?A. I then totally immersed myself back into business and then the phone used to ring asking me to work for Prodrive as a track and rally instructor also pentti Airikkala's Left foot Braking school called me out of the blue and I found myself doing what I love and getting paid for it and also you can always learn something and at Prodrive I used to work with Justin Dale and Martin Rowe we used to have a thrash round in subarus like hooligans “ssshhhh” and now I am in Cyprus with a property portfolio and we can't give it away so I am considering Relocating to Dubai to work on a rally school. With you now being a member of the Metro 6R4 Online News Chat Facebook page has it re ignited the good "old days" and any future plans for the "SOF".A. I now love being in touch with your website and you know what we are like our egos need boosting.Many thanks to Steve “The SOF” Sofroniou for taking the time to speak to me.www.metro6r4onlinenews.co.uk