Ari Vatanen mainostoimisto Avalon

Rally Portugal

  • Year: 1977
  • Country: Portugal
  • Type: WRC
  • Car: Ford Escort RS1800
  • Co-driver: Peter Bryant
  • Placing: ret.
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Rally Portugal

After his hectic British season of 1976 Ari was taken further afield by Ford in 1977. Now was the time to start gaining experience of world championship rallies.

"This was my first rally on the Continent. A new experience, widening my horizons. I was stunned by how poor the country was. That was just three years after the Carnation Revolution, but I learned to value the kind Portuguese people, who have a quietly aristocratic quality about them.

We spent weeks recceing the stages in Portugal with Peter Bryant, but without any service back up. It was so unprofessional! We had a virtually standard car that kept needing repairs at local service stations with things like a leaking radiator and whatnot. By the time we'd finished our recce it was a complete wreck.

Anyway, when the rally got underway I certainly made my mark in the stages. Even as a novice I'd learned the stages quite well and my hugely experienced team-mate Björn Waldegård had trouble keeping up. Once in a while I dropped back with punctures, but caught up again."

Ari first set a fastest time on stage six, then took the lead five stages further on. Before half-distance he had opened out a gap of over three minutes. This was lost with a puncture, but very soon Vatanen was back in the lead and held on until stage 26 (out of 46).

"Then came this stage where after the finish line there was a tight bend to the left before the time control. I hadn't taken that into account and went off there! The car hit a rock and spun round to face the direction from which we'd arrived. The fact that on that short stage we made the fastest time by ten seconds was a very poor consolation!

This was another rally where I certainly went through the full scale of emotions."

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The Cathedral of the Rallyes in Portugal

18-07-2009 klo 13:21

Excuse my weak English.
I remember well the first Rallye that it did in Portugal.
I grasp Arganil. And remembrance with longing his presence in Portugal.
When these years were spent, when the name of Ari Vatanen is spoken in Rallyes in Arganil it is between the first ones.Arganil and Portugal support his name for FIA.
Up to always
Francisco Vasconcelos

Written by: Argonauta

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