Benetton thought it had it licked when Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso whipped the covers off the B201 in Piazza San Marco, Venice in 2001. The Spice Girls revealing McLaren’s MP4/12 at Alexandra Palace four years earlier had taken some beating.
Neither came close to Friday night’s eagerly awaited reveal of rallying’s coolest car this weekend.
Stood in the drizzle, the fog, the fading light and then the pouring rain, there was a danger the livery might be washed off the Škoda Fabia S2500 before she even makes the start of Sunday’s Raven’s Rock Rally.
It didn’t matter. It was perfect.
As Sean Hassett shifted the panel lights onto the car, he and Mike Chen were both silenced. In the middle of the Wicklow Mountains as Friday night neared Saturday morning, the pair were caught in the emotion.
The job was done. Craig Breen would be proud.
And then some.
From a technical perspective, the lights and the light could probably have been better. But Breen would have approved of the car colored and crafted in his memory. And he would certainly have approved of launching it in the middle of Sally Gap – one of Ireland’s most famous stages.
Chen and Hassett will share Andy Fanning’s Škoda on Breen’s local event, Sunday’s Waterford-based Raven’s Rock Rally. As three of his best friends, it’s their way to remember the Hyundai star, tragically lost in a testing crash earlier this year.
“Craig was a great talker,” said Chen. “I mean, some of the stuff he came out with… When Sean, Andy and I were talking about doing this event, what to do with the livery was one of the big questions.
“This seemed the best way. Craig made the world smile with his driving and when he was done with that, he made them laugh with his words. Hopefully, we’ve captured a fair flavor of that for Sunday.
“If I were to be asked for a favorite quote, I’m not sure I could choose one. Maybe the Mayor of Brattby one, that was class. Seeing that big smile as he said it, that was Craig.
“Look, it’s going to be an emotional one on Sunday, but I’m so glad we’re doing this.
“I have to say a big thanks to Barney Mitchell, Paddy McDonnell and all the boys at PMD Motorsport for the work they’ve done on the car and the livery.
“Now, let’s go and put some smiles on some faces. If you’re around Waterford on Sunday, come and say hello. Let’s share some memories of our brother.”
And Hassett, does Sean have a favorite quote?
“Can I?,” he smiled. “OK, for me it would have to be: “F*** ya Hassett!” We all got one of those. It was so funny, when you got to that one, you knew you’d wound him up and you knew you’d all be laughing your heads off within seconds.
“That was the way it was.”