Rob’s current pride and joy is a Glacier White Mégane 265 Cup – he’ll next be showing that off along with fellow Renault Sport owners at Malton’s annual Yorkshire Big Breakfast ‘meet’ (Sun 8 Oct).
“It raises money for the Yorkshire air ambulance and we’ll also be heading over together on some great roads to Scarborough. It’s a fantastic community and I’ve made friends for life at meets and through the forums,” enthuses Rob.
Previously he’s owned a 2002 Clio 172 (Iceberg Silver), 2005 Clio 182 (Titanium Silver), 2005 Mégane 225 (Mercury Silver), his beloved 2008 Mégane R26 (Liquid Yellow), 2012 Clio 200 (Nimbus Silver) and a 2013 Clio 200T (Satin Black).
He recalls: “When I passed my test as a teenager in 1993 lots of manufacturers were shutting down their ‘hot hatch’ ranges due to insurance premiums.
“The only one that really kept going with them was Renault with the Clio 16v and Clio Williams. They stood out from the crowd and were going racing and rallying with them. I always took an interest in Renault Sports from then on…”
Eventually in 2002 budget allowed him to indulge and that Iceberg Silver 172 became his.
“Renault did a very good advertising campaign – Va! Va! Voom! – with the Arsenal football star Thierry Henry. It invoked memories of the Clio Williams and that did it for me – I wanted one! I bought it brand new from Harratts dealership in Wakefield and can remember driving it home – I’ve never had such a big smile on my face!”
Not perhaps until the R26… “I’ve loved every single Renault Sport I’ve owned and later, only gave up the 225 because I’d now got two young kids and it was of a squeeze (cue a comfier Mégane Dynamique for several years)!
“But then they got a bit older and I got made redundant and got a good pay-out with a new job on the horizon. Everyone was raving about the R26 and Harratts had a good deal on one so…
“I adored absolutely everything about that car and it remains my favourite one by miles. Just the complete package – it looked the part with the colour and the decals and the way it drove was out of this world.”
Alas the R26 had to go when “some clot crashed into it and took the front end off”. His latest 265 Cup is more than satisfactory but he adds: “On paper it’s superior in terms of power and handling but the R26 just did it for me that little bit more… it’s one of those things you can’t quite put your finger on.”
If money were no object Rob says he’d likely look at an R26.R or even a Clio V6 but there’s one car that’s currently really floating his boat.
“The new Mégane R.S. Everyone wants to know more about it and Renault Sport have done a good job teasing people with Nico Hülkenberg driving it briefly at the Monaco GP and then a few images coming out.
“The 265 was something of a Concorde moment for Renault Sport with the front-wheel-drive record around the Nurburgring so it’ll be very interesting to see what reviews its successor gets.”