Ari Vatanen : Rallying God

25 May

What you are about to see is an exhibition in car control and a man with some seriously large conkers. Ari Vatanen, the 1981 World Rally Champion ( the only driver ever to win it as a privateer ), takes on Pikes Peak, the worlds most notorious hill climb. This short film, winner of four awards, is a display of what the emphatic Finn can do in a car, on the edge and flat-out at every single opportunity.

Vatanen, piloting a Peugeot 405 T16 Group B rally car, set a world record for the climb, a feat even more extraordinary given some of the sights on the video. Here’s a short summary of some of the things this guy does, whilst making it look as easy as a drive to Sainsbury’s.

  • Blinded by dust and the glaring sun, he drives one-handed, using the other to shield his eyes.
  • Drifting on what can only be described as the edge of precipices, or in short, a rather long drop to near certain death.
  • Driving on a surface more akin to marbles than a road.
  • Setting a record with a time of 10:47.77

The pace is simply incredible, and the accuracy and skill shown by Vatanen is awe-inspiring, clipping apexes perfectly on a loose surface, sometimes at speeds in three figures. Astonishing. All you can hear is the turbo charged Peugeot coming on to boost, then screaming to the redline time and time again, gearchange after gearchange.

Watch the video and see for yourself. The man is a genius.

And if that didn’t convince you, check this one out. Greasy Isle of Man lanes barely the width of a car, an Opel Manta and an unrivaled professional at work. Listen for Co-driver Terry Harryman have a little ‘moment’ as Ari hits a cattle grid. Sideways. After almost crashing. Simply incredible.

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