Ari Vatanen

avatanen

Personal information
Nationality Finland Finnish
Born April 27th 1952
World Rally Championship record
Active years 1974~1998, 2003
Teams Ford, Opel, Peugeot, Subaru, BMW, Mitsubishi, Citroën
Rallies 101
Championships 1 (1981)
Rally wins 10
Podiums 27
Stage wins 527
Total points 518
First rally 1974 1000 Lakes Rally
First win 1980 Acropolis Rally
Last win 1985 Swedish Rally
Last rally 2003 Rally Finland

INTRODUCTION

Ari Pieti Uolevi Vatanen (born 27th of April 1952 in Tuupovaara) is a Finnish rally driver turned politician and Member of the European Parliament for 1999~2009. Vatanen won the World Rally Championship drivers’ title in 1981 and the Paris Dakar Rally four times. Since 2013, Ari Vatanen has been the President of the Estonian Autosport Union.

GROUP B RESULTS

(# = finish position / R = retired or DNF / = did not compete)

Y TEAM EVENT PTS
Monaco
MC
Sweden
SE
Portugal
PT
Kenya
KE
France
FR
Greece
GR
New Zealand
NZ
Brazil
BR
Finland
FI
Italy
IT
Ivory Coast
CI
United Kingdom
GB
82 Multi 2 R R 15
Y Team Event pts
Monaco
MC
Sweden
SE
Portugal
PT
Kenya
KE
France
FR
Greece
GR
New Zealand
NZ
Argentina
AR
Finland
FI
Italy
IT
Ivory Coast
CI
United Kingdom
GB
83 Opel 5 6 1 4 R R R 44
84 Peugeot R R 1 1 1 60
85 Peugeot 1 1 R R R R 2 R 55
86 United States
US-
86 pts

BIO (~1986)

In 1970, Vatanen made his debut in the sport when, with his cousin, he bought an Opel Ascona and prepared it for rallying. His first appearance in the World Rally Championship came four years later at his home rally event in Finland. His first international rally was the 1975 Rothmans 747 Rally in Jamaica driving a Datsun 120Y. He placed 12th with co-driver Gerry Phillips. His talent was noticed and not long after he made a move into the British Rally Championship, in which he was active with his own Ford Escort RS1800. In 1976, at the age of 24, he won the British title. This success resulted in some performances for the Ford factory team. In 1977, Vatanen became a regular privateer contestant in the WRC.

In 1979, Ford officially retired from competition after winning the constructors’ championship to take time to conceive a new rally car (the RS 1700T), but this was for Vatanen just the beginning of two successful years with the Rothmans Rally Team who used Ford Escorts MkIIs. In 1980, Vatanen won his second British Rally Championship title by defeating direct competitor Hannu Mikkola.

For 1981, Vatanen had planned to join the new Mercedes rally team but they prematurely withdrew from the sport before competing. He returned to the Rothmans Rally Team with his privately owned Escort RS1800. He won three WRC rallies out of 5 podiums to capture the 1981 WRC driver’s championship. He achieved the unique feat to be the last privateer who became world champion.

In 1982, despite the lack of an official WRC program, Vatanen was contracted at Ford, for whom he undertook testing with the new Ford Escort RS1700T. However, Ford cancelled the project soon after realizing that the car would not be competitive against the newer opposition. This resulted in Vatanen not defending his title and he competed in only three world rallies.

For 1983, Vatanen then moved on to the Opel team. For most of the season, his Opel was in the shadow of the mighty Audis and Lancias, but managed a surprise victory at the Safari Rally. At the end of the year, sponsor Rothmans withdrew their support for Opel who then abandoned their WRC program.

In early 1984, Vatanen was without a team for a while until he was involved in the early Group B project car for Peugeot, which was led by former navigator Jean Todt. The team made their debut with the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, which represented a completely new interpretation of the Group B regulations, at the Tour de Corse. Vatanen even led the rally while, showing much promise for the new car, but an accident eventually brought an end to the impressive debut. However, Vatanen did not disappoint Peugeot as he clinched victory in front of his home crowd in Finland. He also gave a dominant performance to claim a victory in San Remo, and finished the season in style with his third consecutive victory in Britain’s RAC Rally.

Expectations were therefore high for 1985 and Vatanen would deliver. His most impressive performance came during the opening round in Monte Carlo, where he led the pace of the rally from the start. On the eve of the final day, his navigator Terry Harryman made a timing error, to which the duo were given a penalty that dropped them eight minutes behind rival Walter Röhrl, a four-time winner of the event. However, Vatanen made up for lost time by attacking the stages flat out and would eventually win four minutes ahead of Röhrl. In Sweden, Vatanen clinched yet another victory. Despite the major success of five wins in his last five rally appearances, the turnaround would come quickly for Vatanen as he did not finish the following four events. He brought himself somewhat back into contention with a second place in New Zealand, where his teammate Timo Salonen, who meanwhile had built up a lead in the championship, would win.

A near fatal blow to his career followed in Argentina, where Vatanen, after a quick start on the second special stage, violently crashed. His car hit the curb when cutting a ditch and was launched in the air. The violence of the impact broke the seat mounts and Vatanen was thrown around in the car while it rolled. His co-driver Harryman remained relatively unscathed, while there were fears for the survival of Vatanen. He spent 18 months winning a personal health battle over serious injury and depression. Due to this, he did not compete in the 1986 season. He went on to make a complete recovery and returned to motorsport in 1987 with major successes in hill climb and endurance events.

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ari_Vatanen + http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ari_Vatanen


spell checked, translated, and modified (additions or abridged), by Jay Auger – website owner & author


PHOTOS & VIDEOS

arivatanen Vatanen 84RAC


Do you want to contribute information or expand this page? Feel free to do so by using this CONTACT form!

Advertisements

WELCOME TO THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GOLDEN ERA OF RALLYING

Advertisements