In my three years of going to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, I’ve always neglected the faraway gem that is the Forest Rally Stage.

So this year I was determined to put my walking boots for the hike to the top of the hill and spend some time receiving a dusty face while marvelling at everything from classic Escorts, Group B icons and modern day IRC and WRC machines.

It was certainly worth the walk. The stage and its paddock feel a world away from the activities of the main Festival surrounding Goodwood House. It’s less crowded, feels more intimate and there is a sense of community and a real dialogue between fans, drivers and technicians.

While up there, I was lucky enough to be invited to have a passenger ride in a 1998 Toyota Corolla WRC car. This was the very car Didier Auriol drove to victory in the 1998 Rally Catalunya, and has since gone on to be driven to two British Rally Championships by Jonny Milner and even a Dutch Rally Championship.

Milner is once again the car’s owner, but driving duties had been handed over to Welshman and all round top bloke Julian Reynolds as Milner was busy trying to spectacularly conquer the hillclimb in his optimised Toyota Celica Sprint car.

I’ve passengered in prototype racers and supercars with launch control before, but not one of them felt as quick as the Corolla WRC. There is no bogging down off the line or wheelspin in spite of the loose gravel surface, just physics-defying levels of traction and acceleration.