Michèle Mouton for Otago Classic Rally in 2008
The world’s best known, and most successful, female rally driver, Michèle Mouton, will be the drawcard entry in the 2008 Dunlop Classic Rally of Otago, driving a Ford Escort RS1800 for the Rossendale Rally Team.
For five years now, the Rossendale Team have been working in a very successful partnership with the event organisers to bring high profile European drivers to what is now regarded as the Southern Hemisphere’s premier classic rallying events.
Mouton, who started rallying in 1974 and won four World Championship
rallies in the fearsome Group B Audi Quattro during her most successful
season, 1982, narrowly missing the world title, will be co-driven by
her regular partner of the era, Italian Fabrizia Pons. The pair will
compete together for the first time since the end of the Super Car era
in 1986, when Mouton chose to finish her professional career.
Joining them in the Rossendale team will be crowd-pleaser Pasi
Hagström, the spectacular ex-Finnish Rally Champion and Subaru World
Rally Team test driver, who missed the event last year after wins in
2004 and 2006.
Rossendale team principal, Brent Rawstron, is thrilled with the line up.
“We’ve been trying for a few years through our friend Fabrizia to
persuade Michèle to visit New Zealand again. We’re delighted that she
will now join us and that our old favourite, Pasi, will be back too!”
In a change of tack from recent seasons, Hagström will drive the
Rossendale/Vicarage Lane Wines 1972 Porsche 911 which has finished
second in the rally for the last two years, while Mouton takes the
start in the team’s 1979 Ford Escort RS1800 BDA, previously driven to
victory in 2005 by Scot Jim McRae.
“The comment has been made to us that an international driver in a
Porsche will never beat a BDA in Otago, so we’ve given Pasi the chance
to prove the sceptics wrong!” said Rawstron. “It’ll be a great battle!”
The 2008 Dunlop Otago Classic Rally begins on Friday, May 9 with the
motorshow at Dunedin’s Edgar Stadium, and continues on May 10 and 11
with 13 special stages, all run in daylight.