Rally's supercars set to roar again
Published 25/10/2007 | 07:59
They were the ultimate rally cars - the mighty Group B supercars of the 1980s. Cars like the S1 Audi Quattro, the Lancia Delta S4, the Metro 6R4 and the Peugeot 205 T16.
They were so light, so fast, so powerful, they could out-accelerate a plane on take-off.
They remain icons of rallying and four of them will do demonstration runs as a prelude to the super-special stage which will kick off Rally Ireland at Stormont on November 15.
And, remarkably, they all belong to an Ulsterman.
Enda Garvey is a London property developer originally from Markethill in Armagh. His fascination for Group B rally cars has taken him all round the world in search of them.
" I've found them in Las Vegas and Chicago, in France, Italy even in Guatemala," he says. "I just love the noise of them, the speed, the way they throw out flames from the exhaust, the whole personality of them."
It started, he says, in Armagh when he worked on the cars of Andrew Nesbitt, twice Irish Tarmac champion.
"I used to help prepare Andrew's rally cars and when he got a Metro 6R4 I was hooked. I thought it was a fabulous car and my interest in them stemmed from there.
"Over the last few years I've been fortunate enough to be able to indulge my passion for them and acquire quite a few - nine in fact. They are all original works cars which were driven by some of the biggest names in the sport - Walter Rohrl, Michele Mouton, Juha Kankkunen and Ari Vatanen for instance."
He even owns the Peugeot 405 T16 which was specially created for Vatanen to tackle America's infamous Pike's Peak hillclimb as well as the rarest of all Group B cars, the Citroen BX 4TZ.
For the Stormont spectacular, Enda will bring his ex-Rohrl Audi Quattro S1, Kankkunen's Acropolis Rally winning Lancia Delta S4, an ex-Vatanen Peugeot 205 T16 and a little Metro 6R4 that was driven by Malcolm Wilson, who will be on hand at Rally Ireland in his role as the boss of Ford's World championship-leading team.
The super-special on the evening of November 15 is the opening stage of the rally and will see the 90-strong field, headed by World champion Sebastien Loeb and current series leader Marcus Gronholm, go head-to-head on two circuits which feature a fly-over bridge.
Tickets for the super-special stage are available online at www.ticketmaster.ie, priced from £12.50 upwards.
For latest information spectator and sporting information log on to www.rallyireland.org