108 rally teams from throughout the UK will travel to the Highland capital for the event, which the hotel has been sponsoring for the past 39 years. It is believed that the sponsorship is the longest running sponsorship of its kind and the oldest within the championship.
Motorsports fans will get the chance to get up close to the cars and teams at the ceremonial finish at the Thistle Inverness car park late on Saturday afternoon. Members of the public are encouraged to visit and soak up the atmosphere as the teams return from a day tackling narrow gravel tracks in the forests surrounding Inverness.
Dorothy MacLean, general manager of Thistle Inverness, says the gathering offers an ideal opportunity for spectators to get up close to the cars and teams after they return.
“If you can’t make it to the rally stages outside the city, you can meet the drivers and co-drivers and see the cars at the rally finish at the hotel on Saturday afternoon from 3:30pm,” she says.
“Our car park will be a car enthusiast heaven, with a collection of some of the fastest rally cars in the country all in one place. The drivers will also be at the hotel on Friday night to complete their pre-event registrations, which will be a great time to get some autographs from the top drivers in the country.
“This is the 39th year we have supported the rally, and we believe our sponsorship of the event is the longest of its kind. The event is a big attraction for local people and visitors, and during the rally weekend the hotel has a great festival buzz feel to it. We are very proud to be part of the Snowman Rally, and look forward to welcoming the rally back this weekend.”
Rally clerk of the course, Neil Moir, adds, “The Arnold Clark Thistle Hotel Snowman Rally is one of the most popular events in the Scottish Rally Championship, and is a huge boost to the local economy attracting thousands of visitors to the area, including rally teams, event marshals and spectators.
“The event simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of Thistle, who are not only a great event sponsor, but also facilitate rally HQ throughout the duration of the event. The hotel’s conference suite is transformed into the rally nerve centre where we control all the logistics of event, from liaising with safety teams, to processing up-to-the-minute results.
“Thistle make it very easy for us, with access to reliable high-speed broadband, multi-line telecoms and conference facilities. The city hotel also plays host to the event awards ceremony which attracts over 300 attendees.”
Drivers will attend pre-event registration at the hotel from 5:30pm on Friday 20 February. The 2015 Arnold Clark Thistle Hotel Snowman Rally starts on Saturday 21 February at 9am from Inverness High Street. The first car is expected to arrive at Thistle Inverness Hotel at 3:30pm for the ceremonial finish.
The awards presentation will take place in the hotel ballroom at the provisional time of 6:30pm.