IT thrilled World Rally crowds in the infamous Group B rally era almost 30 years ago – and it will make an explosive appearance at the 2014 historic Leyburn Sprints.
The legendary Audi quattro S1 was among the fastest and most powerful rally cars ever made, but its run ended when motorsport authorities killed off Group B after 1986 because of dangerous speeds and several serious crashes.
The quattro has almost never been seen on traditional gravel rallies in Australia, but it will make its Sprints debut this weekend - on tarmac - in the hands of renowned Queensland driver Stewart Reid.
This S1 version is a New Zealand-built replica now owned by Tasmanian rally identity Dave Thompson, who allows Reid to care for some of his extensive historic rally car collection in his Brisbane workshop. Thompson will drive another of his vehicles, a black Ford Falcon XY GT HO rally car, at Leyburn.
The Audi ran at the recent Scouts Rally in South Australia and earlier this year was driven on demonstration runs in Canberra earlier this year by none other than Finnish rally legend Ari Vatanan.
This Audi is a faithful replica of the model that appeared in 1984. It features the shortened chassis, big wings and distinctive five-cylinder turbo engine that helped make the S1 an awesome force in the World Rally Championship.
Although a replica, the quattro has been meticulously built and is accurate in almost every detail except for a Subaru WRX transmission.
“These are legendary cars from a golden era that will never be repeated,” says Race Director Mike Collins.
“Movies have been made about Group B cars. They are remembered for their fire-spitting exhausts and the huge wings needed to keep up to 650 horsepower in control – and now a magnfiicent example here in Leyburn this weekend.
“With all-wheel drive, huge horsepower and rally gearing, the quattro should explode off the start line, especially with a highly-skilled driver like Stewart at the wheel.”