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The Unsinkables

3 months ago

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Andrew English | Journalist


30 January 2024

The new movie about the 1983 World Rally Championship, Race For Glory: Audi vs Lancia, contains a lot of omissions in the interests of story-telling; truth is often a lot more complicated than can be recounted in fiction. Yet the absence of Ari Vatanen and Terry Harryman’s ‘miraculous’ victory in that Easter’s Safari Rally in the outclassed Opel Ascona is striking. It’s a great untold yarn. Against the mighty 405bhp four-wheel drive Audi quattros, Vatanen’s 305bhp rear-drive Ascona was nearing the end of its competition life as Group B cars were introduced.

Vatanen and Harryman had their issues on this notoriously tough event (they hit a zebra and broke the back axle), but then so did everyone else, and in the end the mechanics performed wonders and Vatanen’s spectacular driving gave them the win.

‘When the sun rose, to our big surprise we were leading, but my friend Hannu Mikkola was catching fast in his Audi. Luckily we arrived in Nairobi and we were saved by the bell,’ he told Peter Njenga for the website Nation.

‘Our victory was a miracle – but true. Like the Easter message.’

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