Rallying world honours Cowan

Service pays tribute to former driver and Mitsubishi team boss

Cowan Hunter

The world of rallying gathered in the Scottish Borders on Saturday to pay its respects to Andrew Cowan, who died in October.

The former Mitsubishi World Rally team principal’s funeral was a family affair last autumn, but the memorial service was all about celebrating the popular Scot’s life.

Hundreds gathered at Duns Parish Church, in the town where Cowan was raised to remember a man who won some of the most specialized endurance events in the world – including the world’s longest rally, the 20,000-mile South American Marathon in 1978.

Friends, family and colleagues from as far afield as America and Australia were thanked for attending by Cowan’s wife Linda – herself a driving force behind the Mitsubishi Ralliart team that dominated the late 1990s in the World Rally Championship.

Mitsubishi’s former test driver Lasse Lampi flew in from Finland and brought with him a message from four-time world champion Tommi Mäkinen – who was sad not to be able to make the service.

Mäkinen and Lampi had visited Cowan in October, shortly before he passed away.

Lampi said: “It was good to see Andrew, we came just before Rally GB and he was like himself. Smiling and happy. He was a good man and one we will miss very much.”

There were eulogies from Cowan’s close friends Ian Calder, Peter Procter, Phil Short and Malcolm Patrick. Cowan’s nephew Sandy McGregor gave a touching account of life with the five-time Southern Cross Rally winner.

Two key cars from Cowan’s career – the Mitsubishi Carisma GT (badged as a Lancer Evo IV for team-mate Mäkinen) Richard Burns used to win his first WRC round, the 1998 Safari Rally – and the Hillman Hunter Cowan, Colin Malkin and Brian Coyle drove to victory on the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon were housed in the nearby Jim Clark Museum for the day.