Ari Vatanen mainostoimisto Avalon

RAC Rally

  • Year: 1975
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Type: WRC
  • Car: Ford Escort RS1800 (g2)
  • Co-driver: Peter Bryant
  • Placing: ret.
Rules for writing

RAC Rally

Despite crashing in Finland Ari had impressed with his speed and was offered an outing as a full works driver in the RAC Rally.

"Going to Ford's famous Boreham team base it was amazing to find three identical rally cars there with my name on one of them, alongside those of Timo Mäkinen and Roger Clark - can this be true!?!! After the various dreams and respective failures and fears it had seemed impossible to ever find myself in this position."

Ari made a sensible start to the event, ending the first day in sixth place, but with fastest time on the last two special stages. "Stuart Turner patted me on the back saying "perfect" and I knew just enough English to understand what that meant."

The next day Ari's rally came to a sudden end on the second Clipstone stage with a dramatic roll. "It was a somewhat similar accident to the one I later had in Argentina. On a long straight there was this notorious depression - but not so notorious to me! The trees cast their shadows hiding the deceptive nature of that spot and I came at full chat and it just launched the car.

When the rolling stopped my first thought was how I had been trusted with this fantastic rally car and this is the state I got it in! I wanted to prove my innocence and walking out of the forest was carrying the sump guard as evidence. It had become detached and I thought that would convince people of how hard the car had been hit in that depression, which I knew nothing about.

My behaviour must have proved that I was shocked - my co-driver Peter Bryant certainly was and we needed to visit the hospital to have it seen to.

Afterwards Stuart Turner asked me: "How tight are you in Finland?" and I didn't really understand the question. He wanted to know if I'd move to England to compete there full-time in 1976!"

To comment the article you should log in. You can register here.

Memories from Mitch Stevens

27-03-2011 klo 18:07

Photos [ 5 ]

Thanks to Mitch Stevens for sharing his memories:

On the day in Clipstone, I was the young teenager with a deathly white face...or so my dad said! It was the first real crash on the RAC that I had seen. On circuits I had seen many...but they run off and hit tyre walls.

After the crash, we all ran down the track and I was amazed to see you both (Peter and Ari) walking...and so cool about it! It was a strong car, every panel and most of the windows trashed, but the roll cage looked pretty much intact.

Written by: Ari Vatanen

Trying to do what Ari does, and failing.

22-04-2014 klo 20:07

I was in Clipstone when Ari crashed out. I believe all three works cars bent their chassis on that infamous dip. I was spectating at the railway crossing, but as the news spread we ran up to the crossroad to see what was left of Ari's car. Even though people were trying to slow the rest of the competitors down, there were still more offs. One of the funniest was a police crew in an Opel. They went off after landing really heavy, the impact sheared the complete back axle off. The car finished in the right hand ditch and the axle, complete with wheels shot off to the left, finishing deep in the forest. The funny thing was ,the driver immediately tried to drive the car away, not realising he didn't have any back wheels. Even at the ripe old age of 68 that day will stay with me for ever, Ari is still one of my all time hero's, not just as a rally driver, but also as a man. Thanks for the memories Ari, all the best for you and your family.

Written by: roger martin

Comments: [ 2 ]Previous1NextPage: 1 / 1