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Friday, 17 June 2016

Rally ace Hopkirk passes advanced driving assessment – for the second time

Rally legend Paddy Hopkirk has taken and passed his IAM RoadSmart Advanced Driver Course for the second time – 27 years after he took it originally.

Paddy was appointed IAM RoadSmart's Mature Driver Ambassador earlier in the year, and has been promoting the charity's work during his many public appearances up and down the UK.

In a 15 year professional racing career in which he has become a household name, Paddy, now 83, won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally and 1967 Acropolis Rally in a Mini – one of few UK drivers to have won a rally at world level.

He finished second in the fearsome London to Sydney marathon in 1968 – giving up a certain win when he and his co-driver rescued a fellow competitor from their burning car. He also won the Circuit of Ireland Rally five times and was an accomplished circuit racer too, competing at Le Mans and Sebring in the USA.

Paddy has now put his money where his mouth is – and in spite of his vast experience and success behind the wheel, has had his driving assessed twice by IAM RoadSmart recently.

He has taken the organisation's Mature Driver Assessment (MDA), a one-hour lesson aimed at giving older drivers the assurance they need to maintain their driving careers long into the future, as well as pointing out any areas that could be improved upon. The MDA is not a test and there is no pass or fail grading at the end.

In Paddy's own inimitable style he wanted to go one stage further and retook his Advanced Driver Course – passing with flying colours.

He said: "I took the test again as an encouragement to older drivers. Anyone can benefit from a little extra advice, as a way of becoming a safer and more confident driver on today's roads."

Paddy talked about what he learnt this time round taking the Advanced Driver Course, saying: "Having taken the course I think about my driving more, rather than it being automatic."

"For instance, I really learnt a lot about the useful information conveyed by road signs and painted lines on the road.  They really do make life easier!"

For more information about IAM RoadSmart courses please call 0300 303 1134.

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