Mouton to drive Audi Quattro at Otago Rally
- 1st April 2008, 8:56am
While Mouton and former World Rally Championship co-driver, Fabrizia Pons, will compete in the Dunlop International Classic Rally of Otago in a left-hand drive Ford Escort RS1800, they will also take the wheel of the Quattro for a demonstration drive during the rally.
The pair will drive the Quattro (pictured) around the tarmac Super Special Stage to be held on the Saturday afternoon of the rally, in what is sure to bring thousands of rally fans to Dunedin to watch.
Mouton, who finished second in the 1982 World Rally Championship driving for the factory Audi team, is another in a line of ex-WRC stars to contest the Otago Rally. She follows other greats, such as Hannu Mikkola, Bjorn Waldegard, Juha Kankkunen and Jimmy McRae who have contested the rally.
The Audi Quattro that Mouton will drive is an ex-factory car from the 1984 season, that is now owned by New Zealander Malcolm Stewart.
The car started its career with a win on the Rally of Portugal, with Stig Blomqvist at the wheel, and also competed in the Rally of Argentina and the Rally of New Zealand in the same year. It finished fourth in New Zealand, after Hannu Mikkola rolled the car mid-event.
The car was retired after Audi switched to the short wheel base ‘Sport Quattro’ and was subsequently purchased by Trevor Hudson, who was then manager of European Motor Distributors in Auckland.
In the hands of Malcolm Stewart, the car finished fifth in the 1985 Rally of New Zealand, but a couple of off-road excursions meant that the national championship slipped from his grasp.
The following year, the New Zealand Championship again went begging, and in Rally NZ Stewart was the leading Kiwi after day one, but a spin and rear end damage on day two saw him drop back down the field.
Brian Green drove the car with some success in 1987, but the Quattro then sat in Stewart’s garage for many years.
Eventually, it was fully restored to its original livery, and it is now for sale.
Looking resplendent in the original HB Audi colours, Mouton will surely enjoy the experience of getting back behind the wheel of a Quattro once more – even though her focus at the Otago Rally will be on her Escort RS1800 and winning the rally outright.
Audi New Zealand has thrown their support behind Mouton’s one-off drive.
As well as contesting the Super Special Stage at the Otago Rally, the Quattro will also be on display at the Friday night Motor Sport Show, with spectators sure to flock for a close look at a real piece of rallying history.
The 2008 Otago Rally will include round two of the Vantage Aluminium New Zealand Rally Championship, the Dunlop International Classic Rally of Otago, and Rally Xtreme which will allow any vehicle to be part of the field.
This year’s rally will entail 13 special stages covering a total competitive distance of 258km. As well as two days of flat-out competition, a high-profile pre-event Motor Show will be held on the Friday night, enabling competitors to display their cars in front of a large crowd of spectators and rally fans.
The event website, www.otagorally.co.nz, includes a full list of those competitors who have entered the event so far.
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