While cruising through the internet recently I stumbled across this video of Ari Vatanen, Finnish World Championship rally driver. You might recognize some of his work in the classic short, Climb Dance. Here you’ll see him blasting down the narrow roads on the Isle of Man in the Manx Rally, scaring the crap out of his co-driver in the process.
While I’m sure that we all like to think that we are somewhat competent behind the wheel of a car or are, in fact, very skilled armchair racers, I bet you can’t watch this and not feel a little bit uneasy or say anything other than (or the likes of) “Dear God.” I’m making that bold assumption because, after all, if you’re here and reading this you must have some interest in cars and therefore you can see my connection.
This is driving at its purest. Just take notice of how much he works the wheel even when the car is going in a straight line. The amount of skill and absolute balls these men possessed blows my mind completely. One might even say he is a master of sisu, a Finnish word which translates to “driving with guts.“
I don’t pretend to know too much about rallying, so from what I understand, when the co-driver reads off “maybe” in his pace notes, he’s referring to the conditions of the road through that section. As if to warn the driver of the potential for more slippery than normal conditions. But I do know that it’s not because he wants to surprise his driver! If any of you guys have any insight on this, let us know!
:: Jonathan McWhorter
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Ah how many times i have watched this clip. Ari is driving the Rothmans Opel Manta 400. One of early GrpB cars albeit in 2wd. The car was very quick if sometimes unreliable and with the onset of 4WD coming into play it was never very successful in the World Championship even at the hands of Ari Vatanen and the late great Henri Toivonen. Both drivers where later seen in 4WD cars, Ari driving the all conquering Peugeot 205 T16 (which almost claimed his life in Argentina) and Henri in a Lancia Delta S4 (which did claim his life on Rally Corsica in 1986).
Talking to my dad, who was co-driving in this era, he told me what he thought “maybe” meant in the pacenotes. His exact words where, whilst chuckling, “I think it means for example ‘Flat right maybe’ would suggest if you where in a hurry it was flat out…(laughs)”.
Obviously in treacherous conditions like on the Manx that day ayou’d proceed with caution! lol
I did a road rally last year in Baltimore. I flew in from FL, so I wound up being a navigator, because I don’t think they were too keen on the idea of me driving the Mustang convertible I had rented in the event. It was a Monte Carlo style event. I did a terrible job as a navigator and chalked it up to the fact that I would much rather be in the driver’s seat. At any rate, when all was said and done, we wound up at a vineyard overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, so how bad could that be??? Thanks for posting this video. I had great fun watching it, and as far as I am concerned, the faster, the better!
I LOVE IT!!! Love the vintage rally coverage! Great find, JMac!
@Patrick: find us some stuff like this!
Dude! They were gonners if he’d lost it there. haha CRAZY!! The interior looked like a street car. Oh the good ole days of rallying!
Damn! crazy stuff, i was watching with headphones on and it got super intense…great find jmac
This is unreal.. I can’t quite get my head round how he even can do this… He is surely born to drive, wired up different to most of us.. wicked… i’m so happy i found this site through Rotiform
i posted this very vid on driftworks a week or two ago,its a classic!
I was struck by the honesty of your pstoing