Ari Vatanen mainostoimisto Avalon

Hong Kong-Beijing Rally

  • Year: 1993
  • Country: Hong Kong/China
  • Type:
  • Car: Subaru Legacy 4WD
  • Co-driver: Bruno Berglund
  • Placing: 1.
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Hong Kong-Beijing Rally

"Hong Kong Beijing was an enormously long-drawn affair. The route needed to be recced well in advance. The recce itself progressed very slowly, as whenever entering a new Canton we had to stop at the border; there would always be a different security officer's car to lead us on from there. I tried to make some conversation with the officers, but found them stern and frightening.

Between Australian rally and the recce I spent a week in Hong Kong - a wonderful place - and Rita flew all the way there with our then three-year-old son Max just to see me. What a happy time we had; such are true highlights in a man's life!

In the rally we drove through much of China, where I was struck by the heavy-handed culture of keeping order. If any unlucky individual in a crowd of spectators happened to push his bicycle a little bit too close to the passing rally cars, he would promptly get it from a policeman's baton! I began to form an opinion about their 'democracy'.

The difference between the cities and countryside was striking, too. After the bustling cities, where people talk on their mobile phones, the poverty in the countryside hit me in the face. The first time I drove the rally in 1987 we were forced to retire and spent some time in a house built on bare soil, with unpainted walls and crude furniture. All very sombre.

The Chinese special stages, on the other hand, were very good and challenging, inviting to get your teeth into them. I had a good scrap with my team-mate Colin McRae, but eventually managed to get a bit of a gap when there was fog. That was very pleasing, because Colin was already one of the fastest drivers around.

It all ended with doughnuts - against express orders! - in Tiananmen Square. My point was: what's the harm in leaving a little bit of rubber in a square, where the tracks left by tanks could still be seen!"

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Had a glass of milk and off to bed!

08-07-2009 klo 06:33

I was 9 years old andI lived in the China World area at the time of this rally.

All the rally all the cars were parked outside of traders hotel and as a friend and myself walked by the drivers/co-drivers were kind enough to give us all sorts of rally memorabelia such as candy, batteries, etc.

My parents met your co-driver Bruno Berglund in a bar at China World the night the rally had ended and got his autograph. They asked him if Mr.Vatanen was around. "I think he's had a glass of milk and gone off to bed already" ;).

The rally was the subject of my show-and-tell the next day in school.

Written by: MikkNass

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