#RTOTY18: Rain stops play but the weather eventually turns in our favour

Time 7:40 pm, September 11, 2018

TODAY’S proceedings looked bleak as we wound down last night.

Over wine, beer and homemade curry (turns out Mr Baggott makes a mean Tikka Massala), we’d gazed at the ever-worsening weather reports for the following day. Noah would have been prepping his timber if he’d been looking at the same smartphone screens as us.

We arose this morning to what turned out to be a spot-on weather report. Rain was bouncing off our parked test cars outside, and the puddles grew to form small, miniature lakes. Needless to say, we weren’t that eager to get out and get driving.

Then we discovered that, far from trickling electricity incredibly slowly into the I-Pace, the charging plug for Jaguar’s new electric car had fallen from the wall. It left us with around 40 miles of range – not nearly enough for the day’s activities.

An executive decision was made to leave it behind – lest it strand one of us with a two-tonne unelectrified red paperweight at the side of the road. That would be, if the weather ever improved.

But then the road test gods smiled fondly upon us and the rain eased. There was even (a rarity for North Wales) a glimmer of sunshine at times. Locals cracked out their shorts and summer dresses – while Jon Reay put on an additional eight layers. Keys divvied out and engines started, we headed out onto the road to get cracking.

The Alpine is an immediate attention-grabber; people stop and stare at the little French sports car wherever it goes. It’s not often that the likes of an Audi R8 or a matte purple BMW M3 are overshadowed, but the A110’s unique looks outshines them both.

I was a little worried about driving it, simply because it had been hyped so much – but you’ll read in in the magazine exactly how much we loved it.

Snapper Dean Smith corralled the errant journalists, photos were taken and sheep were an ever-present disruption on the roads – one even came inches away from being branded with an Alpine logo.

There’s only one thing which surpasses the cars we’ve gathered here for RTOTY 18, and that’s the overwhelming drama of North Wales we use. Our South Wales location last year (as I’m sure you’ll remember), simply can’t compete with Snowdonia when it comes to sheer God-would-you-look-at-that-view ability.

It’s the perfect backdrop to all of this year’s test cars, and it’s even better when it stops raining.

I hope that you, like all of us here, keep your toes, fingers and ears (if you can) crossed that it stays dry tomorrow.

Jack Evans's avatar

Jack Evans is the head of editorial for Car Dealer parent company Blackball Media. An experienced motoring journalist, he covers the latest car launches, motoring news and produces a variety of features for this website.

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