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136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1982 saw the launch of what would turn out to be the most spectacular and exciting period in the history of rallying, a new formula was introduced called Group B, car designers were given an almost free hand, a minimum run of 200 cars had to be made, this allowed the use of spaceframe technology and expensive materials.

Arguably the first proper Group B car was the Lancia 037, or to call it by its correct name, the Lancia Rally (037 was its development code number). The car used a mix of glassfibre and Kevlar body panels, titanium rollcage and spaceframe steel chassis. The RWD machine weighed in at 980kg and used a mid-mounted four cylinder supercharged engine, initially producing 260bhp, which was rapidly developed to ultimately produce 325bhp.

The car was homologated in time for the only all tarmac round of the 1982 WRC - The Tour de Corse. One of the most impressive line ups ever seen on a WRC event turned out for the start, Renault had a trio of 5 Turbos for Ragnotti, Therier and Saby, Pozzi - the French Ferrari importer entered two 308 GTB models, including one for Frenchman Jean Claude Andruet, there were also four Porsche 911SC, a BMW M1, three works Quattros, Ascona 400's for Rohrl and Kleint. Lancia brought two cars, one for Markku Alen and another for the Italian driver Attilio Bettega.

Bettega made a good start, initially holding second place behind Andruet's Ferrari.

Ragnotti quickly got to grips with his Renault, taking the lead of the rally by stage 6, this pushed Bettega's Lancia down to third. However, what happened on stage 11 highlighted how potentially dangerous these spaceframe cars could be, Bettega hit a wall, the pedals ended up underneath his seat, breaking his legs badly, it took over half an hour to cut Bettega free from the 037.

Markku Alen finished a somewhat lowly ninth overall in Corsica, retirements followed for Alen in Greece, Finland and Italy, it was not until the RAC Rally in November that he gave the car its first reasonable finish, fourth place. But 1982 was never meant to be anything but a development year for the 037.

Alen on the 1982 Sanremo

Alen finished a respectable fourth on the RAC Rally, he had actually led the rally at one point but dropped back with minor problems. This was the one and only time that Lancia would bring the 037 to the RAC.

For 1983 Lancia signed German ace Walter Rohrl, it was a dream start to the '83 season, Rohrl and Alen taking a 1-2 victory on the Monte Carlo Rally.

Walter Rohrl - Monte Carlo winner 1983

Next Lancia outing was Portugal, Rohrl and Alen finishing 3-4, beaten by the Quattro pairing of Mikkola and Mouton, Lancia and Audi shared the manufacturers lead with 32 points each.

Lancia opted to stay 'out of Africa' and made major preparations for the all tarmac Tour de Corse instead.

When the Italians went rallying back in the 1980's, they did it in force, four Martini cars, from the front No.1 Andruet, No.5 Rohrl, No.14 Bettega (returning to competition exactly one year after that horrific crash) and No. 9 Alen

This was to be the last ever works outing for the legendary pairing of Jean-Claude Andruet and his female co driver "Biche", they had won the first ever WRC event, the 1973 Monte Carlo Rally.

Andruet was out on the second day, water from the cooling system had leaked into the cylinder bores at service, causing the engine to seize.

Drivers share a meal, back then rallies went day and night, so no time to get out of your fireproof suit and enjoy a meal, this would have been a short rest halt and then back to driving flat out.

Lancia took the top four places at the end of the rally, Alen taking a win over Rohrl.

Incredibly Lancia finished 1-2 on the next round in Greece, thanks to various problems which hit the Audi team, this was a big boost to Lancia's manufacturers title hopes.

New Zealand was next, surely here Audi would show Lancia how to go rallying on loose surfaces. But no, the Audi armada all hit trouble. Rohrl took a convincing win.

Rohrl opted out of competing in the next two rounds in Argentina and Finland, Alen took fifth and third respectively in those rallies, each time behind an Audi trail.

Even now, heading into the Sanremo Rally, Lancia had a twelve point lead over Audi. Yet again, the reliability of the Lancia rally cars won the day, the 037 took the top three places in Italy. Lancia were the 1983 Manufacturers Champions. They didn't even bother sending any cars to the final round, the RAC Rally.

Team Lancia during the 1983 Sanremo. This was the end of an era, the last time a 2WD car took the manufacturers title


136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jean-Claude Andruet and Sergio Cresto - 1984 Monte Carlo

Attilio Bettega - Monte Carlo 1984

Miki Biasion Portugal '84

Bettega '84 Tour de Corse

Alen taking another win in Corsica 1984

Henri Toivonen 1984 Finland

Biasion - Monte Carlo 1985

Alen - Safari 1985

Attilio Bettega and Jean Ragnotti share a moment prior to the Tour de Corse 1985

One of the last ever photos of Attilio Bettega during the '85 event

It turned out to be a tragic event for Lancia, Bettega had an accident on stage 4, not unlike in 1982, unfortunately this time it cost Bettega his life, this was the first time a top line rally driver had been killed on a WRC event, a very dark day for the sport.

Although it had a fairly short career, the Lancia Rally was a brilliant rally car, the only thing it lacked was four-wheel drive!

136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Next up, the Audi Quattro. This is quite a long story, I will cover the 1981 & 1982 Quattro seasons in another thread (as these were Group 4 cars, not Group B) so we'll start here with the A1 & A2 Quattro which were used by the Audi team in 1983 and most of 1984.

The A1 made its debut on the 1983 Monte Carlo Rally, because it still used the 2144cc turbo engine, it was classified as an above 3 litre car (The FIA calculation for turbo cars being to multiply engine capacity by 1.4), this meant it had a minimum 1100kg weight, not a massive issue at the time, as the Quattro was a heavy car anyway.

Bolmqvist and Mikkola finished 3-4 on the Monte, behind the Lancia pair of Rohrl and Alen.

Mikkola 1983 Monte Carlo Rally

For the second year running, it all went wrong for Mouton :-(

Next up was the Swedish Rally, this was drivers championship only, so Lancia opted out, leaving Audi to take the top 4 places.

Mouton Sweden 1983

Portugal, Audi finished 1-2 with Mikkola ahead of Mouton


Safari came next, and Mikkola took second place behind the Opel Ascona 400 of Vatanen, by now Mikkola had a very healthy 28 point lead over Mouton in the drivers championship

Audi load up for the '83 Safari

Next up it was the least well suited event for the Quattro, the all tarmac Tour de Corse. This was to be the debut event for the A2 Quattro, it now had a slightly smaller 2109cc turbo engine, which brought the car into the below 3 litre class, this meant that it now fell into the 960kg minimum weight class, with the use of Kevlar panels and doors, the Quattro now weighed in at 1000kg.

To his credit, Mikkola did manage two fastest stage times in Corsica but retired with accident damage. The Quattro was still using a very basic 4WD transmission (Not like the trick set ups that WRC cars enjoy nowadays), so it really struggled at hairpin bends and needed all the space it could find to get round some of them, as you can see from the photo below!

Greece was a disaster for Audi, Mouton, who had won in '82 crashed on the first stage! Mikkola retired after all sorts of problems, Blomqvist managed to scrape home in third, a massive 14 minutes behind the winning 037 of Rohrl.

The next big win for Audi was Argentina, this event saw some of the fastest average speeds ever on a WRC event, with some stages taking in long straights, during one stage the Quattro gave an average of 122mph .

Finland, Mikkola finished ahead of Blomqvist (Probably on team orders, due to Mikkola's massive lead in the drivers championship)

Next to Italy for the Sanremo, Lancia wanted a good result to secure the manufacturers title, and they got it, finishing 1-2-3. Mouton giving the team 7th place was the best they could do. Mikkola' car set on fire.

Blomqvist drove well and should have been top three, but he had an accident on stage 53 of 58 (They were long events back then!)

This photo of Stig on the '83 Sanremo shows how popular Group B was becoming.

Mikkola made the trip to the Ivory coast to be absolutely sure of his drivers title, taking second place.

Then it was on to Britain for the RAC.

Mikkola set off flat out over the Sunday spectator stages...

...until he clipped a tree stump in Knowsley Safari Park and knocked the front suspension off, this caused co driver Arne Hertz to get out in an attempt to counter balance the weight of the car, they managed to nurse the car out of the stage and continue in the rally, eventually finishing in second place.

Mouton crashed out on stage 19 of 59

It was Blomqvist who totally dominated the event, having won the British Rally Championship already in his David Sutton run car, he had now won the RAC, his last win on this event had come in 1971 at the wheel of a Saab!


136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
For 1984 Audi had built up a super team of drivers which would be capable of total domination. Audi were one of the teams who brought big money into driver salaries, finally bringing them closer to F1 drivers.

From the left Fabrizia Pons, Arne Hertz, Björn Cederberg, Stig Blomqvist, Christian Geistdörfer, Walter Röhrl, Michele Mouton and Hannu Mikkola.

The 1984 Monte was a snowy event, although there was some tarmac to be seen in places

Walter Rohrl took an amazing four Monte wins from four starts, all in different makes of cars (1980 - Fiat 131, 1982 - Ascona 400, 1983 - Lancia 037. He didn't compete in 1981!)

Audi finally got the Monte win they craved, not only that, it was a 1-2-3 back at the finish in Monaco, Blomqvist and Mikkola following Rohrl home.

Another 1-2-3 followed in Sweden. This was followed by a win for Mikkola in Portugal.
1984 service, Portugal.

A rare (if not the only) factory outing for South African driver Sarel van der Merwe on the '84 Rally of Portugal.

Rohrl and the growing crowds, Portugal '84

And the winner, Mikkola

No Audi Group B Quattro ever won the Safari Rally, in fact no 4WD Group B car ever won the Safari Rally. Here is Mouton in '84 after hitting a vulture!

Tour de Corse 1984, as you can see from this photo, this was the debut event for the Sport Quattro, Rohrl tried a sole SWB car.

Audi wanted a good result in Corsica, so much so that they gave multiple Tour de Corse winner Bernard Darniche a car to run in the 1984 French Rally Championship, here he is on the Alpin Behra

Darniche was a six time winner in Corsica, but in 1984 he retired after an accident.

Blomqvist continued to drive the A2 for most of 1984, here he is taking a win in Greece. He followed this with wins in New Zealand and Argentina, back in 1984 this was the first time any driver had won three WRC events in succession.

Mikkola took an A2 to second on the RAC, but by now the car was outdated and already the SWB Sport offered a reliable 400+bhp....

136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The Audi Quattro Sport, some just know it as the short-wheelbase Quattro. Unlike all the other true 4WD Group B supercars, the Sport was based on a real car, in other words it didn't have a spaceframe chassis or mid-engine layout, this was one of its weak points in many ways. Audi cut 320mm from the Quattro wheelbase to create the Sport, allegedly the idea was to reduce weight and make the car handle better on tarmac stages, for some reason it turned out to be the heaviest Quattro to date, weighing in at 1200kg.

Here is a photo of the A1 Quattro in the foreground and the Sport directly behind it, note not only the shorter appearance of the Sport, but also the much sharper rake windscreen, apparently this was requested by the rally divers at the time, as the original Quattro suffered badly from the sun's glare at certain times of day (the two cars in the background are prototype mules)

The car made its WRC debut on the 1984 Tour de Corse, Walter Rohrl retired the car after just 7 stages with overheating problems, also the car handled badly, the Quattro was always a nose heavy car due to the engine being sat so far forward, the short-wheelbase just seemed to make the problem worse. One good thing about the car was its fabulous 20 valve engine, it was producing comfortably over 400bhp, by 1985 it would be producing around 510bhp, probably making it the first rally car with over 500bhp, 4WD had now made it possible for rally cars to have the sort of power that F1 cars had enjoyed just a few years previous.

Rohrl 1984 Tour de Corse

Three weeks later was the Acropolis Rally, Audi entered four works cars, Rohrl and Mouton both ran the new Sport, while Mikkola and Blomqvist ran a trusty A2 each. The Sport Quattro started overheating as soon as the day became hot, Rohrl was driving with his heater on, whilst having to back off when the oil temperature got too hot. Despite these problems, Rohrl grabbed the lead by the end of the first day, it didn't last though, electrical trouble struck on the first stage of day two, eventually the car stopped with clutch failure.
Rohrl 1984 Acropolis

At the end of July 1984, Rohrl made his one and only appearance for Audi on the British Rally Championship, the Ulster Rally in Northern Ireland, he was up against the Opel Manta 400s of Jimmy McRae and Russell Brookes, although the Opel was only producing about 275bhp it had often beaten the Quattros in previous British tarmac rallies. Rohrl sent co driver Geistdorfer over to Ulster prior to the event to make pace notes (this was unusual, as most drivers like to call the notes to co drivers during a low speed pass of each stage, Rohrl tended to do as he pleased, such was his talent, he arrive shortly before the rally and drove once over each stage which would be run in darkness) Although the car was difficult to drive, it turned out to be a demonstration of brutal power and sheer skill by Rohrl, he took victory by well over four minutes.

Blomqvist clung on to his beloved A2 for as much of the '84 season as possible, here he is making his Sport debut in Sanremo, an oil pipe let go after a hard impact and Stig was out.

Blomqvist needed a few points to be sure of the 1984 drivers title, so he was sent to the Ivory Coast Rally, only six cars finished this gruelling African rally, it turned out to be the one and only win for the Sport in the WRC, Blomqvist taking the win and the drivers crown.

The final appearance of 1984 for the Sport was the RAC Rally, where Michele Mouton finished 4th


136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
1985, the traditional start to the WRC, the Monte Carlo, Rohrl put up a fight against the 205 T16 of Vatanen, but the little mid engined Peugeot was too good, Rohrl settled for second.

Blomqvist finished a massive 14 minutes behind Rohrl in fourth position.

Round 2 in Sweden, same result, Vatanen's 205 taking the win, with Blomqvist in second, Stig said the car was just not comfortable in the corners. He once even commented that a better combination might have been the 20 valve Sport engine in an A2!

Portugal followed, Vatanen retired with suspension damage, this was Rohrl's chance, he set 23 fastest stage times.

But it was not to be, he suffered a broken transmission casing on the notorious 35 mile Arganil stage, the car was fixed but too much time lost.

Blomqvist had a bad rally also, he finished fourth behind Rohrl in third, this time Salonen won in...... a 205 T16, Audi were starting to plan their next move, but in the meantime, the drivers would make do with this awesomely powerful, yet difficult car.

Blomqvist Portugal '85

Audi sent two cars to the Safari, Stig and Hannu both retired.

Blomqvist on the '85 Safari. Have you ever noticed on those Hollywood films, when a helicopter takes off and everyone runs for cover as dust blows everywhere, of course that doesn't happen in reality.....

.....Well, not usually!!

Stig Blomqvist taking second on the '85 Acropolis.

Michele Mouton took part in the Pikes Peak Hillclimb in 1985, she and co driver Fabrizia Pons had won the rally car class in 1984 driving a Sport, for 1985 Michele decided to go it alone.

She won the event and took the hill record with a time of 11 minutes 25.39 seconds.

Blomqvist '85 New Zealand

The final factory WRC outing for the Sport came on the 1985 Ivory Coast Rally, Mouton had been entered in the hope of retaining her A priority status as a rally driver, to do this she needed a top three finish, the rally was a total disaster for the team, Mouton's co driver was taken ill during practice, so Mikkola's co driver Arne Hertz was brought in, they hit a train during practice! The rally went no better and she retired, this was her last rally for Audi, a sad way to end.

Hannu Mikkola used a David Sutton run Sport on the 1986 British Rally Championship, here he is on his way to victory during the Welsh Rally.

So, the Sport was heavy, didn't handle too well on the stages, wasn't loved by any of the factory drivers as a rally car and was often unreliable. Did spectators like watching that car on the stages? - Yes. Would I have a road going Sport in my dream garage? - Yes. So, I guess Audi must have got something right.

For the final chapter in Audi's Group B story, they would need something very evolutionary if they were going to make this short Quattro capable of taking on Peugeot.......

136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The Audi Quattro S1 E2, quite possibly the most memorable of all Group B supercars, due to its outlandish use of aerodynamic wings and that glorious 5 cylinder noise.

Audi knew they had to improve weight distribution if they were to take on the Peugeot 205 T16. They did this in main by moving the oil coolers and radiators to the rear of the car. Moving the radiators proved to be a very good move on the part of Audi, because they were able to gain FIA approval for their large rear wing by using the reason that it was (partly) for cooling purposes. Peugeot apparently also wanted a much more extreme rear wing but were turned down.

The car made a somewhat low key debut on the 1985 Olympus Rally in North America. Thanks to a friend of mine in Seattle, I have these never seen before photos of the S1 E2, he tells me that you could count the spectators on that Olympus Rally, only a few people were aware what an extraordinary debut they were witnessing. It must have been like a spacecraft landing, just look how crude the other cars look next to the winged wonder.

Hannu Mikkola drove the car.

The car made its WRC debut a few weeks later in Argentina, Stig Blomqvist showed the car was competitive with a number of fastest times, but retired with engine problems.

No matter what angle you saw it from, the E2 looked totally purposeful.

The bodywork always looked more suited to a racing circuit rather than a gravel rally stage.

Blomqvist soon showed this was very true!

One thing the Audi engineers perhaps overlooked was sufficient cooling for the brakes, they introduced a water cooled braking system ,this was very effective on shorter stages but on longer stages it required a lot of water!!

Blomqvist - Finland 1985

The drivers did comment how well the car flew, due to the well sorted aero package

It didn't stop drivers pushing beyond the limit though

Roland Gumpert and his men get busy. Blomqvist finished second in Finland to the Peugeot of Salonen.

It was going to take a machine like driver to get the absolute best out of this car, a certain German driver was preparing himself in the Italian countryside for his S1 E2 WRC debut.....

136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The 1985 Sanremo Rally was due to be the debut event for the Lancia Delta S4, but much to the frustration of the Italian fans, the car was yet again delayed. So, the Peugeot 205 T16 E2 would clean up again right? Well, Audi had other ideas, Walter Röhrl had spent some time setting his car up for this event.

The rally was run over 43 special stages, 13 stages were to be run on the tarmac roads in the mountains behind Sanremo and another 30 stages would be held on the gravel roads of Tuscany.

The spectators in Italy were crazy, probably almost as crazy as the fans in Portugal. Röhrl set off flat out over the opening tarmac stages, swapping times with the Peugeot of Frenchman Bruno Saby.

Röhrl said in an interview many years later that the Audi he drove on that Sanremo Rally was producing 535bhp, which he described as 'Plenty of power everywhere and at any speed'

Röhrl's co driver Christian Geistdörfer once compared being driven flat out in a Group B car to having your brain shook loose, this rally must have been the most extreme demonstration ever of that feeling!

'Once the car exceeded 60mph the aerodynamics of the car worked really well, giving good downforce. The engine gave full power above 3000rpm, if you lifted off the right pedal then you lost all power, it was all or nothing and I went for all on that 1985 Sanremo' - Walter Röhrl

Röhrl totally made the event his own, setting 29 fastest stage times, he demolished the opposition, winning the event by six and a half minutes from Timo Salonen's Peugeot. It is still remembered to this day as one of the greatest WRC wins.

Last event of 1985 was the RAC Rally of Great Britain, a pair of S1 E2 Quattros were entered, Röhrl was running a very early semi automatic gearbox which was operated by a foot switch (Remember this was high tech back in 1985, it was well into the 1990s before F1 cars had paddle gearshifts)

Englishman Phil Short was chosen to sit next to Röhrl, Short remembers it as one of the biggest accidents of his career, the pair ended up rolling down a hillside in Wales, just about every panel came off the car! When they finally came to rest (on the wheels) Röhrl still had his hands on the steering wheel, he turned to Short and said 'I think our rally is over!'

A couple of photos of Walter Röhrl and Phil Short on the 1985 RAC Rally (Before their big off)

Hannu Mikkola had finished first or second on every RAC Rally since 1979, sadly 1985 brought this to an end, retirement came after an electronics problem.

Mikkola on a spectator stage during the 1985 RAC Rally.

1985 had seen Audi turn it's car back into a competitive rally car, satisfying work for all involved, 1986 would offer the greatest battle the WRC had ever seen, Lancia now had a car which won straight out of the box, Peugeot were still a major force, even Britain now had a rally supercar with the MG 6R4, the 1986 Monte Carlo Rally was a mouth watering prospect for rally fans - Could the Monte meister Walter Röhrl regain his crown.....

136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Walter Röhrl preparing for the start of the 1986 Monte Carlo Rally, they didn't know it then, but this was to be the last time that the Group B supercars would ever be driven on the Monte Carlo stages.

The early stages were all run on snow, Röhrl showed his usual flair

The Monte had been a popular spectator event for years, but the development of the Group B cars meant the crowds were bigger than ever

Hannu Mikkola was also present in a second Quattro, he paid Röhrl and the Audi team (who had together fine tuned the car for this event) a huge compliment when he described the S1 E2 as the best car he had ever driven on tarmac, day two of the event brought a chance to put that to use as the stages were fairly much clear from Snow and ice.

The man and the machine - Inside the cockpit of the mighty Group B Audi

Henri Toivonen had been leading the event but then had a huge road accident, Toivonen kept going but this was Röhrl's chance, he was probably the only driver who had the confidence and ability to take on Toivonen in this event, it all went wrong for the German though, he had a rear puncture which forced him to stop and change the wheel, only to find the spare was a studded tyre and this was a dry tarmac stage!!

A second puncture followed, Walter had to settle for fourth place, ten minute down on the winner

Mikkola brought the sister car home in third, here we can see that the 'cow catcher' front wing was not made from solid granite after all

Next event for the Audi team was the Rally of Portugal, a single entry was made for Röhrl

The cars set off for the now notorious Sintra stages, for years these stages had attracted huge uncontrolled crowds, 1986 was to see the biggest crowds yet, not since the days of the classic road races such as Targa Florio and Mille Miglia had such powerful cars been driven between walls of spectators.

A rare photo of a car on the '86 Rally of Portugal without huge crowds

The accident many had feared didn't take long to happen, local driver Joaquim Santos lost control of his RS200 when avoiding spectators in the road, this caused him to leave the road, killing three spectators and injuring many more, it was a black day in the history of rallying.
All the major teams withdrew from the event after just three special stages. This was to be the very last time we would see the amazing winged wonder on the WRC stages, arguably, we will probably never see or hear a car like this ever again.


430 Posts
Do you have any info/photos you can share of the Porsche 959 and the Paris-Dakar Rally?

136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·

The 959 was never used as a Group B rally car, so I will leave it out of this thread, maybe I can start a seperate thread here with some Dakar 959 photos, I think the car also won the Pharaohs Rally, I will see if I can find anything.


136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, this was the rally car that took all the best ingredients and mixed them perfectly together - 4 wheel drive, turbo charging, space frame technology, mid-engine layout, all in a lightweight (940kg) package.

The car was originally tested in 1983, here is the T16 being rolled out for the first time.

The 205 T16 story started in 1981 when Jean Boillot (the head of Automobiles Peugeot) asked professional co driver Jean Todt to help create a competition department for PSA Peugeot Citroën.

By 1983 they had a car up and running, the photo below shows from the left, Jean Boillot, Jean Todt and Jean-Pierre Nicolas. Boillot was the son of famous pre WW1 Grand Prix driver Georges Boillot who was the first two time winner of the French Grand Prix in 1912 & 1913 driving a Peugeot, of course!!

A quiet test session followed at a French rallysprint! Jean-Pierre Nicolas had retired from rallying at the end of 1980 after a career which had seen him win five WRC events, but he was tempted back to develop the T16.

May 1984 would see the WRC debut of the car, here are the team arriving on the island of Corsica for the all tarmac Tour de Corse.

The main competition would come in the shape of the Lancia 037 team, who had won here in 1983

Vatanen diced with Bettega's Lancia for the first few stages, the 205 was immediately comfortable on tarmac, something the Quattro never had been.

The T16 was the first car since the Lancia Stratos to use fully removable bodywork, it made servicing so much easier, here is the second 205 of Nicolas during a service interval.

Anyone who watched rallying in the UK during the early / mid 1980s will remember that the Opel Manta 400 could reasonably hold it's own against the more powerful Quattro on tarmac events, Peugeot had cleverly designed the T16 with three options for transmission torque split - 50/50 for very slippery surfaces, 33/67 for gravel and 25/75 for tarmac.

Not only was the 205 faster than the Opel, it was able to catch the works car of Guy Frequelin during the stages...

...and actually pass it!

Vatanen was the sensation of the rally, he grabbed the lead on stage 8 and held it until crashing on stage 19, this was forgiven by the team, he had proved the car had pace.

The sister car of Jean-Pierre Nicolas kept going...

...and finished a solid fourth overall, not to bad for a driver who had been retired since 1980.


136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Next event was the super tough Acropolis Rally, Vatanen set 11 fastest times but retired with an engine problem, the team went back to their Paris HQ to regroup.

Finland's 1000 Lakes rally, the fastest rally on the WRC and an event that Vatanen had won in 1981, Ari dearly wanted another win on his home event, and he did it in style, the T16 totally dominated.

Winner Vatanen flanked by Henri Toivonen and Markku Alen

With co driver Terry Harryman, Vatanen always celebrated a win with a glass of milk (He also enjoyed milk as a sponsor many times over the years) Look closely and you can see Harryman clutching an unopened bottle of champagne :trophy_bronze:

One month later the cars arrived in Italy for the Sanremo Rally, it would be another demonstration in how to go rallying from Peugeot, Vatanen taking another crushing win.

Mechanics work on Ari's car during the Sanremo

British rally fans (including myself) could barely wait for the amazing 205 to arrive for final round of the 1984 WRC, the RAC Rally.
Ari built up a massive lead over the Audi of Mikkola

He gave everybody a scare when he rolled his car and lost the several minute lead he had built up. Here is Ari helping to replace the windscreen!

Mikkola's Quattro nearly kept Ari honest, but in the end Vatanen won by less that a minute - Another glass of milk.

Three wins from the last three starts, surely Vatanen had to be clear favourite to win the 1985 WRC drivers title...

136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The start of the 1985 World Rally Championship season, Peugeot had some new team members. Posing prior to the start of the Monte Carlo Rally, from the left Terry Harryman, Ari Vatanen, Timo Salonen, Seppo Harjanne, Bruno Saby, Jean-Francois Fauchille and Jean Todt.

A French team on France's premier rally, the pressure on Vatanen to win was massive, he set fastest time on the first stage, but on stage two it all went slightly wrong when Ari hit some spectators, luckily nobody was seriously injured but it shook Vatanen and it took him until stage nine to regain the lead from Röhrl's Audi.

Peugeot servicing, back then there was an enormous range of tyres available, so much so that Michelin had told Audi to only enter two cars on the event, such was their commitment to the Peugeot team.

Vatanen got back in the groove, setting a string of fastest times, this was Ari at his peak.

Vatanen built up a good lead, it would now take a disaster to stop him from winning, sure enough that's exactly what happened! co driver Terry Harryman failed to spot an error on a time card and ended up booking into a time control wrongly, the pair took an eight minute penalty.

What followed was Vatanen driving at the absolute limit

Ari's job was made easier by Röhrl making a wrong tyre choice, in the end the 205 won by over five minutes, but it could have been quite different, I bet there were some tense moments in the car after the time card error.

It was happy days back in Monaco harbour, this was the first time Röhrl had been defeated on the Monte since 1979.

New team member Salonen came in third overall (His first rally in a 4WD car) Salonen, Vatanen and Röhrl celebrate.

This time Harryman put the milk down and opened the champagne, I bet he was ready for a drink after all that excitement!

Two weeks later Vatanen scored another win in Sweden

This made five consecutive wins for Vatanen and Peugeot, nobody had achieved such success on the World Rally Championship before. It would have been impossible to believe back then, and it still seems impossible today to believe, but this was to be Vatanen's last ever win on the WRC.

136 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Round 3 of the 1985 WRC took the teams to Portugal, Vatanen set off relatively cautiously, due to the fact that the T16 was still an unknown performer on really rough roads, would it hold up?

Huge crowds as always turned out in Portugal

Inside the cockpit of the Group B 205

Ari had a puncture on a stage, he drove to the end and thought he'd got away with it, but on one of the following stages the suspension failed and Vatanen's incredible run of WRC wins was at an end.

Walter Röhrl's Audi was starting to dominate the event, Röhrl commented that you had to hate everything about cars to drive fast on the gravel roads in Portugal, they were so rough. Vatanen's team mate Timo Salonen was trying to chase the Audi down.

You can see from this photo how rocky the roads were

Röhrl hit problems late in the event and dropped to fourth, allowing Salonen through to take his first win for Peugeot

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