International Welsh Rally
Single car or single driver domination doesn’t really make for exciting competition, but four different makes leading the finishers into Cardiff in mid-May ended a stirring contest indeed, even if significantly enough, they were all driven by foreigners. Most noteworthy was that the winning car was a Vauxhall Chevette (top), its Finnish driver Pentti Airikkala providing Britain’s Dealer Team Vauxhall with its first outright victory in a major International event. Second place, after a very close contest indeed, went to another Finn, An Vatanen, who had led marginally in his Escort but who lost time by leaving the road only three stages from the end. Yet another Finn was third, Hannu Mikkola in a Toyota Celica of the Belgian-based Toyota-Europe team (below), whilst in fourth place was an Opel Kadett GT/E (centre) of Britain’s Dealer Opel Team in the hands of German driver Walter Rohrl. Perhaps equally significant was that the four leaders’ navigators were respectively Welsh. English, Swedish and English.