Who is the greatest Rally car champion.... - Alfa Romeo Forum
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View Poll Results: Greatest Rally Car Champion ever....
Ari Vatanen - Ford Escort 1981 5 14.29%
Walter Rohrl - Fiat 131 1980/Opel Ascona 1982 1 2.86%
Stig Blomqvist - Audi Quattro 1984 7 20.00%
Carlos Sainz - Toyota Celica 1990/92 1 2.86%
Massimo Biason - Lancia Delta 1988/89 5 14.29%
Colin McRae - Subaru Impreza 1995 2 5.71%
Tommi Makinen - Mitsubishi Lancer 1996/97/98/99 4 11.43%
Marcus Gronholm - Peugeot 206 2000/02 1 2.86%
Sebastien Loeb - Citreon Xsara 2004/05 2 5.71%
Other 7 20.00%
Voters: 35. You may not vote on this poll

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mikebrown
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Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

With the rally car day at Castle coombe this Saturday, who is your greatest champion

 
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

IMHO the greatest driver ever to sit in a rally car was the late, great Henri Toivonen, he was always on the limit and could make the most underpowered of rally cars dance with the best of them. There is a famous piece of footage when he is chasing and CATCHING a Lancia 037 through Corisca (i think it was Corisca) in a Talbot Lotus Sunbeam. Stunning. Also love the way he threw that Delta S4 around, no fear. Sorely missed, along with his co driver Sergio Cresta RIP

The most under rated driver is Tony Pond, IMHO the best British driver we have ever had, Colin McRae and Richard Burns (RIP ) were no where near him. He was another driver of took useless cars and made them winners, the Rover SD1 for starters!!!!!!!!!! Also helped develop the Metro 6R4! One of the great cars of an era never to be seen again in full anger. If he had not stuck to his love of the British motor industry and gone to the Italians or Germans he IMHO would have been a world champion.

However best in terms of career wins and staying the distance has to go to Carlos Sainz.

For fair look no further than Marku Allen and for technique/skill Stig everytime.

Modern rally drivers moan about 8 hours for 3 days and to many miles to cover! The above and their generation were known to go 21 hours each day for 5, thats 5 days. They traveled across entire countries in cars that were so brutal to drive that to this day they still scare professional drivers. HEREOS

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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

some very nice views there...it must be my age or something, but the earlier drivers do seem to hold a more legend status imho, mainly down to personalities more than anything, drivers like sainz known as the matador, ari vatenan as the flying finn (but then arent all drivers from finland known as that )...the sight of stig driving the audi..man and machine as one...i used to watch rallying a lot and visited the RAC Lombard rally many times...i have always thought they are the complete driver and would eclipse an F1 driver for both skill and attitude

 
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Penny Mallory surely
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Quote:
Originally Posted by moynesey
IMHO the greatest driver ever to sit in a rally car was the late, great Henri Toivonen, he was always on the limit and could make the most underpowered of rally cars dance with the best of them. There is a famous piece of footage when he is chasing and CATCHING a Lancia 037 through Corisca (i think it was Corisca) in a Talbot Lotus Sunbeam. Stunning. Also love the way he threw that Delta S4 around, no fear. Sorely missed, along with his co driver Sergio Cresta RIP

The most under rated driver is Tony Pond, IMHO the best British driver we have ever had, Colin McRae and Richard Burns (RIP ) were no where near him. He was another driver of took useless cars and made them winners, the Rover SD1 for starters!!!!!!!!!! Also helped develop the Metro 6R4! One of the great cars of an era never to be seen again in full anger. If he had not stuck to his love of the British motor industry and gone to the Italians or Germans he IMHO would have been a world champion.

However best in terms of career wins and staying the distance has to go to Carlos Sainz.

For fair look no further than Marku Allen and for technique/skill Stig everytime.

Modern rally drivers moan about 8 hours for 3 days and to many miles to cover! The above and their generation were known to go 21 hours each day for 5, thats 5 days. They traveled across entire countries in cars that were so brutal to drive that to this day they still scare professional drivers. HEREOS
Great call. Pond was a star.

Toivenen was absolute class - his death hit me with exactly the same disbelieving shock as hearing about Senna. "Just not possible, surely a mistake?"

How about the original flying Finn - Timo Makkinen? What couldn't he do?

I loved Ari's balls out approach - probably why he didn't win as much as he might have done in absolute terms.

I'll vote Rohrl - and would give a big nod to Markku Alen - "for sure, we now go maximum attack!" (usually at SS1!)
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

my all time favorite is Markku Alen, long term italian car driver. Fiat 131 etc
He won unofficial championship 1978, hes was also driving AR 166 in civil, dont know if still drives.
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antti
my all time favorite is Markku Alen, long term italian car driver. Fiat 131 etc
He won unofficial championship 1978, hes was also driving AR 166 in civil, dont know if still drives.
also marku won it, as indeed Munari did, in arguably the best looking rally car of all time...the lancia stratos

 
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

I'd have to go further back, how about Mr Hopkirk in the ubiquotous Cooper S? He did the Classic rally back in 91 in a Mini Cooper S and won the event outright!

But I do like to see the older cars as opposed to the newer ones, the sight of an Escort going sideways or a Quattro sport guning it up the hill is quite something.

But Pond/Toivenen and Alen are way up there IMO!
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

i remember seeing a pic in an historical rally book..it showed hopkirks mechanics working on his car after they actually lifted the cooper onto its sides..they never bothered to jack it up

classic


Last edited by mikebrown; 20-07-06 at 13:37.
 
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Ari was, as many of you how pointed out a fantastic driver unfortunately after barrel rolling his Peugeot 205 T16 and nearly killing himself he, quite rightly lost a bit of his edge. But it takes some serious bottle to go back to professional rallying and still rate as one of the top drivers.

I will remember him for several stories.

1/ the conversation he has with Penti (think it was from memory) about his Escorts blown diff. Went something like this-
Penti "What is trouble"
Ari "we have big trouble with rear diff and we don't carry"
Penti "Not problem you just replace it"
Ari " Yes but we no carry a spare"
Penti "What no spare"
Ari "Yes"
Penti "Ohhh you have big trouble"
They stop a Capri and remove its diff to get him back in the game. Try doing that to a WRC from a road car!

2/ The footage of Ari in the Britsh Championship driving an Opel Manta on the Manx. He is FLAT out on top of the mountain/hill roads in the fog and the he exits a flat out corner, clipping the wall causing a blow out of the rear tyre. Car oversteering from one side to the other towards a very narrow cattle grid with Ari fighting for control. As he approaches the metal grid Ari manages to get the return flick of the oversteer in line with the narrow gate without touching it. The most amazing part is once through the gate you release the car is still oversteering! Driving at its best and pureist. Co-drivers comment sums it up "Good god" said in pure terror! If you have seen it, try to its superb.

I also agree rally drivers are the best drivers in the world, every corner is unique, and due to the loose/broken surface never quite the same twice, unlike a race track!
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Quote:
Originally Posted by moynesey
1/ the conversation he has with Penti (think it was from memory) about his Escorts blown diff. Went something like this-
Penti "What is trouble"
Ari "we have big trouble with rear diff and we don't carry"
Penti "Not problem you just replace it"
Ari " Yes but we no carry a spare"
Penti "What no spare"
Ari "Yes"
Penti "Ohhh you have big trouble"
They stop a Capri and remove its diff to get him back in the game. Try doing that to a WRC from a road car!

!
yes i remember that happening..if memory serves me right it was a chap with a 2.8i..hopefully ford recompensed the chap fully !!


nice one

 
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Close it was a Mk1 3.0 litre Ghia with a Altas rear axle.

The works Escorts ran 'baby atlas' axles which were shortened versions of the Capri axle.

The team towed the car to the nearest Ford garage and the car apparently was treated to a brand new diff and other goodies! Would you ever sell that car?!?

Ex old school Ford boy and massive rally fan!
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Does no one rate Hannu Mikola, one of the best in Escorts and Quatros, and winner of one of the toughest rallies of all time, the 1970 world Cup rally finnishing in Mexico.
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

I voted for Stig, in addition to all said about him above, he is genuine nice guy, who loves driving and will and does drive anything, and as to making slow cars go fast, anyone remember his third place overall in the British Rally in (i think) 1991 driving a .....






















Skoda Felicia.

My wife worked as a press officer for Skoda for a few years, and knew Stig back then driving a Skoda Octavia WRC (a dog of a car) with co-driver Tina Turner (ok Thoerner, but sounds better the other way). He always took the time to say hello, and always found something nice to say about the team and the car, no matter how badly things just went.
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Hannu is a good call.

Me and brother went to the start of the London to Mexico in the late nineties i think it was where we met Roger Clark and Hannu. Both just with there respective cars in the Hotel car park chatting to anyone, no super star rubbish. Very lucky.

If your talking Hannu then it must be mentioned that he was good in an Escort but superb in a Audi Quattro.

There is the safari rally where he is on the side of the road broken down and Michelle Mouton (something like that) radios through to say her cars is on fire. Hannu helps as best he can and then once the dawn of realization set in that they are both out and he says to her "drive it in to the river to put the fire out" as a last ditch idea. Classic

Whilst i mention it Michelle was one hell of a driver and showed most drivers the way to handle a 500bhp Audi S1! Also had a knack of looking good no matter how long she had been in the car and was always throwing her arms around when explaining the lastest incident.

Also for Hannu. Take a frozen lake, two RS1800 Escorts, a works 1700 Fiesta now add 1 Hannu, 1 Bjorn and 1 Gunnar Palm and watch. That film footage shows there car control, couple of feet apart on ice at the same angle, no cage, no helmet, no fuse just a walk in the park.
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Rallying has lost a bit of it's appeal to me. I can remember when the RAC rally used to last for days and go all over the country, now it seems to have been emasculated. As Jim says, nostalgia isn't what it used to be
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Quote:
Originally Posted by moynesey
Close it was a Mk1 3.0 litre Ghia with a Altas rear axle.

The works Escorts ran 'baby atlas' axles which were shortened versions of the Capri axle.

The team towed the car to the nearest Ford garage and the car apparently was treated to a brand new diff and other goodies! Would you ever sell that car?!?

Ex old school Ford boy and massive rally fan!
nice one..theres no way id sell it
 
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Quote:
Originally Posted by moynesey
Hannu is a good call.

Me and brother went to the start of the London to Mexico in the late nineties i think it was where we met Roger Clark and Hannu. Both just with there respective cars in the Hotel car park chatting to anyone, no super star rubbish. Very lucky.

If your talking Hannu then it must be mentioned that he was good in an Escort but superb in a Audi Quattro.

There is the safari rally where he is on the side of the road broken down and Michelle Mouton (something like that) radios through to say her cars is on fire. Hannu helps as best he can and then once the dawn of realization set in that they are both out and he says to her "drive it in to the river to put the fire out" as a last ditch idea. Classic

Whilst i mention it Michelle was one hell of a driver and showed most drivers the way to handle a 500bhp Audi S1! Also had a knack of looking good no matter how long she had been in the car and was always throwing her arms around when explaining the lastest incident.

Also for Hannu. Take a frozen lake, two RS1800 Escorts, a works 1700 Fiesta now add 1 Hannu, 1 Bjorn and 1 Gunnar Palm and watch. That film footage shows there car control, couple of feet apart on ice at the same angle, no cage, no helmet, no fuse just a walk in the park.
i remember seeing that vid ages ago...would love to see it again..its almost like ballet...

 
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Stig.
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

the finnish guys are okish
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikebrown
i remember seeing a pic in an historical rally book..it showed hopkirks mechanics working on his car after they actually lifted the cooper onto its sides..they never bothered to jack it up

classic

Idea originally lifted (I'm pretty sure) from Carlsson's mechanics earlier in the old Saab 96 2-stroke. He could peddle a bit for a big lad too. And so could his wife Pat Moss in the Healey 3000.
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Quote:
Originally Posted by vamos
driving a .....

Skoda
Talking of which, what about John Haughland for the "unsung hero" and Skoda for "most under-rated marque by non-rallyists" awards?

The old Skodas used to mullah the sub 1300 class on the RAC and won it for 19 or 20 consecutive years (definitely no less) and used to consistently finish in about 10 O/A. Incredible.
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Sandro Munari, Paddy Hopkirk, Billy Coleman, Roger Clark, Markku Alen, Dider Auriol, etc, etc.......
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

So many finnish guys

I don't like that much rally ... But I think Marcus Grönholm is my favourite
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Re: Who is the greatest Rally car champion....

Sorry, I haven't got a clue

I'm agreeing with Gary and 'Penny Mallory' - even although she was never the WRC Champion, coz I hink she's better looking than all the ones you've mentioned



So I voted Other
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