Occasionally, just occasionally, a driver comes along who encapsulates all that is good about motorsport. But that’s boring. Martin Schanche is arguably the greatest rallycross driver of them all — European champion in 1978, ’79, ’81, ’84, ’91 and ’95 — but he’s better known for his tantrums: all very entertaining, especially those that occurred shortly before the flag dropped. You just pictured the Norwegian running through his full range of facial tics and pitied anyone fool enough to get in his way. Like those competing in round four of the ’92 series at Ritamaki, Finland. After being punted off at the first corner in the A Final, ‘Mr Rallycross’ stood in the middle of the track until the action stopped: he got a two-month ban and a hefty fine.
After starting out in ice racing in ’72 with an Opel Kadett, Schanche soon switched to rallycross with near-instant success. But he was pretty useful on the smooth stuff too, driving an Argo and a Strandell-Porsche in the WSC from 1985-88.
More recently, Schanche has turned to politics with the far-right Progress Party. True to form, his first televised debate ended in a punch-up. — RH