WRC World Champion Hannu Mikkola has handed away - Motor Informed

WRC World Champion Hannu Mikkola has handed away

Regardless of his retirement within the early 1990s, the 18 victories gleaned by Hannu Mikkola within the World Rally Championship nonetheless permit him to be a part of the highest 10 most victorious drivers in historical past. He was topped WRC Champion in 1983 in an Audi Quattro, but additionally completed thrice runner-up and thrice third (though in 1978 it was not a World Championship strictly talking however the “FIA Drivers Cup”).

Seven of Mikkola’s successes got here on the well-known and dreaded 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland, his native nation (though not all of them counted in direction of his 18 victory tally, as they weren’t all the time thought of as WRC occasions). However Hannu additionally knew learn how to care for his automobiles in endurance occasions: his final victory got here on the Safari Rally 1987 on the wheel of one of the crucial unlikely rally automobiles, the Audi 200 Quattro.

Though, like many nice Scandinavians, his profession started in a Volvo – a PV544 – within the 1970s, he was extra intently related to Ford, successful the 1972 East African Safari Rally (which was not a WRC occasion) in an Escort RS.

His first World Championship victory passed off in 1974 at 1000 Lakes in one other Escort. In 1975, he triumphed in Morocco – related to present FIA President Jean Todt – in a Peugeot 504, earlier than successful the 1000 Lakes once more behind the wheel of a Toyota Corolla.

He continued along with his personal workforce, driving Toyota and Peugeot, till he was employed as a manufacturing unit Ford driver in 1978. Armed with an MkII Escort RS1800, he received the Rally of Nice Britain ( then referred to as RAC Rally) and stepped onto the rostrum two extra occasions, with Arne Hertz now established as his co-driver.

He claimed 4 victories in 1979, however was in need of one level to beat Björn Waldegård to say his first WRC title amongst drivers. He was additionally praised for driving one other unlikely rally automobile – the Mercedes 450SLC – in second place within the Safari Rally, and he used that automobile to face on the rostrum two extra occasions in 1980. Elsewhere he was discovered. normally in a Ford, though a Porsche 911 was his automobile of selection in Monte Carlo, and he used a Toyota Celica in Finland. As soon as once more, he completed second within the factors race.

Serving to Audi develop the revolutionary Audi Quattro, he received 4 victories in 1981 and 1982, nevertheless it was the 4 victories and three second locations he took in 1983 that earned him the title, regardless of 4 retirements.

The next 12 months, a victory and 7 extra podiums allowed him to complete second within the factors race once more.

The arrival of smaller and extra agile all-wheel drive Group B automobiles made life troublesome for Audi’s “pioneers”, and Mikkola was sidelined for a complete season by the Ingolstadt model, which made his short-wheelbase model of the Quattro a troublesome machine to study for Hannu, who was in his forties on the time.

After the demise of Group B in mid-1986, Mikkola discovered himself on the wheel of the nice 200 Quattro of Group A. His last victory within the Safari Rally in 1987 – adopted by a 3rd place on the Acropolis – allowed him to complete within the high three within the WRC, though he spent 4 seasons with the disappointing Mazda 323.

Mikkola’s final WRC outing was in 1993 – on the 1000 Lakes, as you would possibly anticipate – driving a Toyota Celica Turbo, which earned him seventh place at 51.

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