"It’s exactly 30 years since Ari Vatanen won the UK stage of the World Rally Championship in the crazy days of Group B racing.
This November Ari will be back in the UK for the Wales Rally GB (13th-16th "
Finnish rally maestro Hannu Mikkola was one of the legendary flying Finns who powered their way into motorsport lore during the Group B era at the wheel of the monstrous Audi Quattro S1 Sport. But as World Champion in 1983 and with a total of 18 World Rally wins (and an obscure reference in punk culture) – the understated driver’s legacy bleeds out of WRC’s narrow confines.
How did your involvement in Audi’s Rally Team emerge?
The Head of Audi Sport at the time, Jürgen Stockmar, invited me to see the four-wheel drive Audi road car prototype (Ur-Quattro) in the autumn of 1979, and asked me to join their emerging rally team as the development and lead driver. I realized the potential of four-wheel drive in rallying, and we agreed to terms quite quickly. I started development work on the car in 1980, and we competed in our first rally in 1981, which was the Monte Carlo. I stayed with the team until 1987, when they stopped rallying activities.
"If someone hadn't invented Group B rally at the start of the eighties, the times would have defined the form and it would have happened anyway. All of a sudden, what had been a relatively worthy, moustached and tweeded form "
Few concepts are guaranteed to get us hot under the collar like the announcement that Audi are resurrecting the idea of the original Quattro. The motorshow at Paris is after all one of those events where legends "
"There are a number of racing machines that will forever be associated with Finland.
The best of them are – like the nation that loves them – unruly, unpredictable and quick.
For some the definitive Finnish machine might be Jarno Saarinen's Yamaha "
"We stumbled across this rare and rather killer footage of the fleeting moments of Mazda's RX7 Group B career on the highly entertaining Japanese Nostalgic Car blog.
Listen to the sound of the RX7's high-revving rotary engine, and enjoy "
"The cliché about Finnish people being good drivers seems to be true.
Look at the statistics. As a country of a mere 5.5 million people, we have produced many drivers who have won world class races and several world championship titles.
"Jean Todt, Peugeot's team principle, stood in front of the press at the start of the 1981 Rally season and announced that they were developing a new four wheel drive rally car.
He promised a prototype by 1983 and that the new "
"If you're of a certain age, you'll remember the sight and sound of the powder blue invalid tricycles that were once a common sight on our roads and at our football stadia. But do you know the story behind them?
"Motoring brands don’t come much bigger than Harley-Davidson. In fact, brands in general don’t come much bigger than Harley-Davidson. It’s a name that transcends industries, cultures and the seven continents.
And probably Mars when we colonise it.
"Take the speed of Senna, the wet weather prowess of Schumacher, the smoothness and mechanical sympathy of Prost, the versatility and enthusiasm of Andretti and the humility of a country boy and you've got the recipe for the greatest racing "
"The nice people at Influx suggested earlier this year that they wanted three films off us.
One on minibuses, one on bubblecars and one on car detailers. Trying to find an interesting angle on minibuses was tough I’ll be "