For some years now the World Rally Championship – WRC for short – has lined up on the starting grid a small number of teams and a limited number of drivers. During the 1980s there were up to 15 teams with around sixty points-based drivers. That is why the championship success of Ari Vatanen, 40 years ago, deserves a suitable celebration: the Finnish champion was, until 2017, the only private driver to carry off the trophy. He achieved that with a Ford Escort RS1800 from the Rothmans Rally Team, which used Pirelli tyres. An extraordinary enterprise in a memorable year for the rally. You only have to recall two other events to remember it: the first win by a female team in history (the Italian Fabrizia Pons and her French colleague Michelle Mouton in the San Remo Rally) and the first appearance of that remarkable car, the Audi Quattro, the first with four-wheel drive, which was destined to become one of the most brilliant technical solutions for standard production cars.
Also worth reading: Ari Vatanen – His way in the rally world