Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Rally Escorts - Goodwood FoS 2011

There was a huge variety of beautiful machinery on Goodwood's rally stage this year, both modern and classic. SuckSqueezeBangBlow was, as ever, naturally drawn to the Escorts, which were just as extravagantly sideways through the forest as you'd hope.

This mkII, LAR 801P, is a 1975 RS1800. Legendary drivers such as Ari Vatenen, Hannu Mikkola and Björn Waldegård drove similar cars in the mid-seventies, and this actual car won the '75 RAC Rally at the hands of one of the original Flying Finns, Timo Mäkinen.

DKP 191T is another RS1800, and a personal favourite of mine; it's often at Goodwood, as well as various other motorsport events I attend throughout the year, and it's like seeing an old friend. Resplendent in the iconic Rothmans livery, the significance of this Escort cannot be understated: as Ford's rally dominance began to fade and Audi rewrote the rules of rallying with their quattro system, it was DKP 191T that acted as the last line of defence, with Ari Vatenen driving it to victory in the 1981 World Championship ahead of the four-wheel drive whippersnappers.

This Escort is part of the old guard - the mkI RS1600s that led Ford's early charge in 1970s rallying. LVX 942J is a 1971 car which won the '72 RAC and Manx rallies, and the 1973 Welsh & Scottish Rallies. Bubble-arches, Uniflo livery and quad-spotlights comprise pretty much the ultimate mkI look, and the sound of that BDA ricocheting through the trees is just glorious.


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