Ari Vatanen's WRC winning Ford Escort RS1800
Had a great visit to Beaulieu Motor Museum last week. They have a special display on which includes Ari Vatanen's WRC winning Ford Escort RS1800 from 1981. He came second in the Lombard RAC Rally behind Hannu Mikkola's Audi Quattro to clinch the championship. The last time I saw this car was 34 years ago whilst standing in the freezing rain in a Welsh forest after 3 nights without seeing a bed. Today's Rally GB is a pale imitation of the RAC Rally of those days. This is the itinerary from 1981:-
Leg 1 Sunday 22-Nov-1981

SS1 Weston Park 1
SS2 Sutton Park
SS3 Donington Park
SS4 Trentham Gardens
SS5 Knowsley Park
SS6 Grizedale South
SS7 Grizedale North
SS8 Comb
SS9 Wythop
SS10 Greystoke
SS11 Wark
SS12 Currick
SS13 Kielder
SS14 Splashetts
SS15 Rooken
SS16 Rawhill
SS17 Craik
SS18 Twiglees
SS19 Castle O'er
SS20 Kershope North
SS21 Kershope South
SS22 Lambton
SS23 Witton Castle
SS24 Hamsterley Forest
SS25 Hamsterley 2
SS26 Guisborough
SS27 Langdale
SS28 Wykeham
SS29 Dalby
SS30 Calderdale
SS31 Cropton
SS32 Kilburn
SS33 Boltby

Leg 2 Tuesday 24-Nov-1981

SS34 Oulton Park
SS35 Weston Park 2
SS36 Burwarton
SS37 Knill Wood
SS38 Radnor
SS39 Brycheiniog
SS40 Halfway
SS41 Crychan
SS42 Clynsaer
SS43 Esgair Dafydd
SS44 Lady Megan
SS45 Llidad
SS46 Brechfa
SS47 Trawscoed
SS48 Llanafan
SS49 Myherin
SS50 Hafren
SS51 Panperthog
SS52 Dyfi
SS53 Gartheiniog
SS54 Blaen-y-Clyn
SS55 Hafod Owen
SS56 Mawddach
SS57 Maesgwm
SS58 Beddgelert
SS59 Great Orme
SS60 Penmachno North
SS61 Penmachno South
SS62 Clocaenog 1
SS63 Clocaenog 2
SS64 Clocaenog 3
SS65 Clocaenog 4
Rally total: 746.74 km (not including road sections of 2,100kms!!))
What you can't see from this is that after starting Sunday morning the crews had no rest before hitting Kielder Forest in Northumberland just after dark on Sunday night, looping into Scotland and tackling the Yorkshire stages (Dalby was about 28 minutes alone) through Monday. Then a short rest before starting leg 2 before dawn on Tuesday straight through to finish on Wednesday afternoon. In those days the co-driver (who had no pace notes on UK rallies) would drive the car on the long road sections while the driver slept. Only 54 of the 151 starters finished. Epic.