A Turbo 4WD that Revolutionized WRC

Audi’s last WRC win was the 1985 Sanremo.

The “Quattro” was introduced to the public at the Geneva International Motor Show in March 1980. By November of that year, it was sold as the Audi Quattro. The sports coupe was developed by Ferdinand Karl Piëch. It had a 2.1 L 5-cylinder turbo and a full time 4WD system. The 5-cylinder turbo mounted in the front was very heavy, but the balance of the car was not an issue back then.

In January 1981, the Audi Quattro driven by Franz Wittmann won the ERC first round in Austria under snowing conditions. It was a good kickoff for the machine. Audi choose Hannu Olavi Mikkola and Michèle Mouton as their drivers for the WRC Rally Monte Carlo held at the end of January. Their competitors were the Ford Escort, Fiat 131, Lancia Stratos, Renault 5 Turbo, and Porsche. The Quattro’s speed shocked all the competitors as soon as the rally started. Mikkola’s Quattro had gained a 6 minute lead from the second place after only 6 SS. Unfortunately, in Monte Carlo, Mikkola retired on day 3. In the Sanremo Rally, Talbot and Nissan were fighting for the Manufacturers’ Championship Title. Michèle Mouton won the round as the first ever woman to win a WRC rally. Mikkola won the last race of the season (RAC) but the Manufacturers’ Championship Title went to Talbot and the Drivers’ Championship Title went to Ali Vatanen. However, it was predicted that the Audi Turbo 4WD that won Sanremo and RAC would be leading the next WRC season.

In 1982, Audi got seven wins and was awarded the Manufacturers’ Championship Title. Mouton won three rounds. However, Walter Röhrl, who won two rounds and steadily earned points. He took the Drivers’ Championship Title.

Michèle Mouton won three rounds in the 1982 WRC, but unfortunately missed the Championship Title.

In 1983, when Group B started, Audi lost the first round to the Lancia 037 Rally. However, in the second round, Sweden, the Quattro took home first to third places. The first and third places were the improved Quattro A1 machines. In the third round, Portugal, Audi took home a one-two finish, and in the Safari Round second and third finish. At the Tour de Course, Audi entered the improved A2 but 037 took first to fourth places. The A2 did not finish. Audi also lost Acropolis and New Zealand during this season. The team fought to win Argentina and won first to fourth places. They also had a one-two finish at the 1000 Lakes Rally. Lancia won Sanremo, but in Cote d’Ivoire Mikkola took the second place. In the last round, RAC, Mikkola won to become Drivers’ Champion of the season. Unfortunately, the Manufacturers’ Title was won by Lancia.

Blomqvist got the Drivers’ Championship, and Audi won the Manufacturers’ Title.

In 1984, in order to win the Manufacturers’ Title again, Audi decided to use Stig Lennart Blomqvist for all rounds, and Röhrl, Mikkola, Mouton in their favorite rounds. Audi also used drivers that were specialized in certain rounds in order to win the championship. The team used a total of 12 drivers, placing them in their strong rounds throughout the season. The strategy worked out, and although the team lost Safari, Corsica, 1000 lakes, Sanremo and RAC, they won the rest of the seven rounds. Blomqvist became the Drivers’ Champion of the season. Audi successfully won back the Manufacturers’ Championship Title. The car that won the 1000 Lakes, Sanremo and RAD was the Peugeot 205 T16, which was a well-balanced midship turbo 4WD. It was predicted that the next season would be a battle between Audi and Peugeot.

The 1985 season started with the Peugeot 205 T16 winning the first few rounds. Monte Carlo, Sweden was won by Vatanen, and Portugal was won by Timo Salonen. Audi entered their Quattro Sport, but the highest they could finish was second. The season ended with only one win at Sanremo with the Quattro Sport E2, and this win became Audi’s last WRC win.

Audi entered their Quattro Sport, but Peugeot had a lead against them.

The team competed with Mikkola and Röhrl in the Quattro Sport E2. Their best result was placing third and fourth in Monte Carlo. Lancia Delta S4 won the round. Audi entered Röhrl in Portugal but did not continue their WRC participation any further.

The Audi Sports Quattro RS002 was developed in preparation for the Group S which was replacing Group B. But as all other manufacturers, they did not race with the Group S car.

In 1987, Röhrl competed in the Pikes Peak Hill Climb with a machine based on the Quattro Sports S1. He finished off with a victory.

Audi entered a machine that was based on the E2 into the 1987 Pikes Peak Hill Climb held in Colorado, USA. They successfully won the event.

The Group S RS002 was made of composite material and was a midship 4WD machine.

Results of Audi Quattro

Year Event Driver Co-driver Car
1981 Swedish Rally H.Mikkola A.Hertz Audi Quattro
1981 Rallye Sanremo M.Mouton F.Pons Audi Quattro
1981 RAC Rally H.Mikkola A.Hertz Audi Quattro
1982 Swedish Rally S.Blomqvist B.Cederberg Audi Quattro
1982 Rallye de Portugal M.Mouton F.Pons Audi Quattro
1982 Acropolis Rally M.Mouton F.Pons Audi Quattro
1982 Rallye do Brasil M.Mouton F.Pons Audi Quattro
1982 1000 Lakes Rally H.Mikkola A.Hertz Audi Quattro
1982 Rallye Sanremo S.Blomqvist B.Cederberg Audi Quattro
1982 RAC Rally H.Mikkola A.Hertz Audi Quattro
1983 Swedish Rally H.Mikkola A.Hertz Audi Quattro A1
1983 Rallye de Portugal H.Mikkola A.Hertz Audi Quattro A1
1983 Rally Argentina H.Mikkola A.Hertz Audi Quattro A2
1983 1000 Lakes Rally H.Mikkola A.Hertz Audi Quattro A2
1983 RAC Rally S.Blomqvist B.Cederberg Audi Quattro A2
1984 Rallye de Monte-Carlo W.Röhrl C.Geistdörfer Audi Quattro A2
1984 Swedish Rally S.Blomqvist B.Cederberg Audi Quattro A2
1984 Rallye de Portugal H.Mikkola A.Hertz Audi Quattro A2
1984 Acropolis Rally S.Blomqvist B.Cederberg Audi Quattro A2
1984 Rally of New Zealand S.Blomqvist B.Cederberg Audi Quattro A2
1984 Rally Argentina S.Blomqvist B.Cederberg Audi Quattro A2
1984 Rallye Côte d’Ivoire S.Blomqvist B.Cederberg Audi Quattro Sport
1985 Rallye Sanremo W.Röhrl C.Geistdörfer Audi Quattro Sport E2

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