(LEFT) Audi added Stig
Blomqvist to its attack
for 1982, the Swede
winning twice in his
debut season. (BELOW)
Mikkola ended the Audi
Quattro’s first season
with his second win,
the grueling RAC Rally.
“We had so many problems in
the early days. When I tried the
first rally engine, it was awful”
The news wasn’t good from Mouton’s
car. A sick engine ended her Monte before
the opening stage. Those rivals gathered
gleefully around radios, waiting for news of
Mikkola’s car. But the Finn wasn’t worried.
“[Bernard] Darniche started in front of
me in the Stratos,” he says. “First stage
was 14km [ 8.7miles], mostly uphill. Before
halfway, we’d caught him. I knew then the
car was good. But it wasn’t easy to drive;
in the end, we had to unlock the front
differential. That meant three-wheel drive
for most of the time, but it was better than
having it kick left and right all of the time.”
After 100 competitive miles in the
mountains, Mikkola was almost six minutes
ahead and quickest over all six stages run. In
more bad news for the opposition, Mouton’s
problem was traced to contaminated fuel.
Unfortunately for Audi, cooked brakes
on Mikkola’s car wilted at precisely the
wrong moment and the car’s front-left
corner was wiped off against a bridge.
At the heart of all the Audi Quattros homologated for
Group 4, then Group B, between 1981 and ’ 86 was a
turbocharged, inline 5-cylinder, 2.1-liter engine (equivalent
to a 3-liter normally-aspirated engine in the Group B rules).
In 1981, maximum power was 350hp. By ’ 86, countless
upgrades to the engine and turbo put it above 500hp.
AUDI’S FIVE STAR
QUAT TRO HIT RATE
( 21 WINS)
Culminating in the 1983 drivers’
WRC title for Hannu Mikkola, the
Quattro took 15 wins in its first
three seasons – eight for Mikkola,
four for Mouton and three for
Stig Blomqvist. Eight more came
before Audi pulled out in ’ 86.
THE RELIABLE ONE
To solve the unreliability that blighted Audi’s ’ 81 debut, R&D
engineer Roland Gumpert (ABOVE with Michele Mouton)
was brought in to head Audi Sport. Under him, the Quattro
took two manufacturers’ and two drivers’ titles and 20 wins.
The Audi Quattro’s African record was poor, with zero wins
on Kenya’s prestigious Safari Rally and just one win on the
’ 84 Ivory Coast – a hit rate of one win from 10 events.
The Quattro shared its sharp, somewhat severe styling
with the Coupé from the Audi 80 range. Its flared fenders
and a slightly larger rear spoiler are clues to what’s inside.