Ari Vatanen mainostoimisto Avalon

Rally New-Zealand

  • Year: 1977
  • Country: New Zealand
  • Type: WRC
  • Car: Ford Escort RS1800
  • Co-driver: Jim Scott
  • Placing: 2.
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Rally New-Zealand

"This was one adventurous rally, even by my standards!

It was part of a long world tour where I spent over two months away from home. I arrived in New-Zealand early, but my co-driver Jim Scott would not take time off from his lawn-mower business until one week before the rally. We practised the stages from before dawn until 10 pm every day, but only had time to cover each stage once. (This was an enormously long rally with over 24 hours worth of stages.) And there was no time to check the pace-notes - that's a recipe for disaster!

The rally got off to a flying start for us. Our Dunlop A2 tyres were better than the Pirellis that Fiat were using and I could virtually drive circles around their cars.

On the first night there was a stage that went from gravel to wet tarmac. Where it turned right in a downhill section I went straight onÂ… and way down! Luckily we were carrying a winch in the car, so managed to haul it back on the road. Trouble was, the winch had to be attached to a tree on the other side of the road, so blocking the passage of other cars. Every time someone was approaching we had to detach it and start again! It took some half an hour, altogether!

This was by no means the end of our dramas, either. I kept catching the leaders at a rate of knots and then there would always be some other incident again, but the mechanics kept banging the car back into shape.

On one tarmac stage in the night I lost the car and it somehow came to spin on its side, so that the water channel running over the windows was flattened! It didn't end up on its roof, though, but one McPherson strut had got detached and was sticking out from underneath the fender! At the end of the rally the car looked as if it was shot at with an elephant gun!

A unique souvenir of my career is the 100 km long stage where I overtook all three Fiats. I felt like "see Naples and die".

After all this we ended up losing the rally to Fulvio Bacchelli's Fiat by just a minute and a half!

Poor Jim Scott looked like my father in the beginning of the rally and at the end of it he looked like my grandfather! "

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1977 momento

31-03-2011 klo 12:00

Photos [ 1 ]

A small momento Ari signed for me back in 2003, the famous Masport Escort IF780 all crossed up.
Amazingly the car is still running, and still has the original number plate, and runs the original colours too.

Written by: Aaron

Ari at Otago Classic RALLY 2011

17-04-2011 klo 01:42



Written by: ari pettigrew

17-04-2011 klo 01:44

Written by: ari pettigrew

Shell Oils Escort

27-04-2011 klo 21:56

Hi Vatanen-friends,

I'm Aad from Holland and an big Vatanen fan. I recently made a replica of Vatanen's old Shell Oils Escort from the '82 Circuit of Ireland. I do need som decals to complete the car. Does anyone has some pictures of this car? It would be a great help to me. Regards, Aad

Written by: adewinter19

1977 Rall of New Zealand

27-04-2012 klo 03:41

Photos [ 1 ]

Found this photo of Ari And Jim Scott in a very battered Masport sponsored Escort.
I have been a huge fan for years and wanted to share this. Maybe Ari would comment on this?

Written by: rs2000bda

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