Clocks gone back? Check. Weather turned nasty? Check. Pumpkins off the shop shelves, replaced by tins of Roses? Check. Then it must be nearly Rally GB time, right?
Next Friday, Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship will get under way in north Wales, with two local drivers - Kris Meeke and Elfyn Evans - in with a shout of podium places. All they’ll need is for trouble to befall all three VW Polo WRCs, in fact, and they could even stand a chance of winning.
Volkswagen Motorsport’s rally campaign appears to be continuing in full force, unaffected by the emissions scandal that has engulfed the rest of the company. The fact that the 2016 WRC calendar includes a round in China has probably helped to secure another 12 months of dominance for Sébastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and the most recent WRC event winner, Andreas Mikkelsen.
Thing is, VW is already working on its 2017 challenger, built to new rules that are designed to make the cars a bit harder to drive and more appealing to the fans. There’s plenty of video footage already, in fact, of double world champ Marcus Gronholm shaking down a test mule of the 2017 car on gravel and, most recently, on asphalt in the south of France.