ARI VATANEN RETURNS TO CANBERRA
1980 and crowds gathered in the southern suburbs of Fadden and Macarthur in Canberra to watch the first division of the Castrol rally on newly
sealed bitumen roads. Australian rally fans had been warmed up by International drivers over proceeding years with Waldegaard, Cowan, Shinozuka, Clark and others in events such as the Southern Cross Rally, but we had not seen Ari Vatanen, the man with the reputation of the worlds most spectacular driver.
Car 0 came and went with the anticipation building. Then in the hot heavy air, we could hear a BDA Escort accompanied by tyre squeal. Over the crest Vatanen with co driver Dave Richards arrived in 5th gear on the rev limiter, a perfect Scandinavian flick to the left, then right then left as he slid on the lock stops to the turn left at T junction, then an immediate turn right down the hill, never straight, an unbelievable display of driving not seen by anyone before.
The crowd went mad. The police on duty were gobsmacked; they had never seen anything like it and demanded everyone stand a further 50 metres back!
Fast forward yourselves to last week. Ari Vatanen accompanied by Rita, his wife were invited to hand out awards at Australia’s Rallying “Hall of Fame” dinner in Canberra, a black tie dazzling night recognising the ‘who’s who“ of rallying in Australia.
Ari and Rita’s trip was sponsored by Dave Thompson, a rally car collector and good friend of Capital Self Storage. Dave has a collection of over 30 race and rally cars including a 6R4 Metro and offered his Audi S1 Quattro replica for Ari to drive, 10 lucky people paying to go for a ride with the rally legend and Capital Self Storage was only too happy to help.