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Old 12 Jun 2001, 11:23 (Ref:104343)   #1
Amaroo Park
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Greatest Rally Driver Of All Time

Who do you belive was or is the greatest Rally Driver of all time. Personally belivue that it was Ari Vataneen. Anyone who can caome back from an accident like his in Argentine in 1985 and be competive has to be pretty good
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Old 12 Jun 2001, 12:25 (Ref:104392)   #2
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But who does Ari Vatinen think was best, Colin Bond?

That's subtle, isn't it?
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Old 12 Jun 2001, 12:28 (Ref:104396)   #3
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Hannu Mikkolla who came out for The Southern Cross in the late seventies rated Colin Bond in the top 5 rally drivers in the world at the time.
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Old 12 Jun 2001, 12:47 (Ref:104405)   #4
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John Dawson-Damer had firm ideas on the subject. He also told me that one of those top guys, whether it was Mikkola or Vatinen I'm not sure, was interviewed on Brit TV and asked who he reckoned was the best rally driver he'd seen.

The answer was a stunner: "Colin Bond!"

And about 0.0001% of the audience knew who he was talking about!

Dates back to the Heatway in NZ, was that '73?
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Old 13 Jun 2001, 16:34 (Ref:104810)   #5
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I admit to being part of the 99.9999% who don't know who Colin Bond is. Feel free to enlighten me. But for what it's worth, my vote goes to Ari Vatanen.
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Old 13 Jun 2001, 22:49 (Ref:104924)   #6
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Colin Bond was a racing driver and rally driver of exceptional ability in both fields. He won Bathurst in 1969, won the Australian Touring Car Championship in 1975, and innumerable races and rallies.
He tried F5000 a couple of times, notably in a wet practice at Warwick Farm where he was something like 30s faster than anyone else.

He won the accolades of the driver who made the statement on TV by his continual driving back through the field in the Heatway rally in New Zealand in 1973 (?). This was a World Championship event, and he had brake trouble on the first stage. He would storm back through the field on each stage, passing car after car after car, then be put back down in order for the next one and repeat the performance.

Very laid back in personal style, he kept on racing into the eighties, but his best was behind him. A while back, I was researching a story on drivers and their attitude to when they felt they were at their best. He's the only one who thinks he's past it, he felt he reached his peak at thirty.

One of his most dominant performances was in a Formula Vee race at Warwick Farm, only one he contested, won by a mile.

You might call him an all-rounder... and many's the time he's turned up at a race meeting the afternoon after driving through the night in a rally, started from the rear of the grid and won the race.
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Old 14 Jun 2001, 08:10 (Ref:105019)   #7
Amaroo Park
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Ray I have to disagree that Colins best was behind him in the 80's. If you remember Bondy won 2 rounds of the Touring Car Championship in 1990 and was in the running for the championship up until the end. I think Colin would be perhaps the only person in Australian Motorsport that you would never hear a bad word about. He wasnt know as the Laughing Cavalier for nothing.
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Old 14 Jun 2001, 08:16 (Ref:105020)   #8
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1990 was a long time after he'd been consistently at the front, wasn't it?

And it was his own view that he was past his best, too. Honestly, I feel he was in his prime in the days of the XU-1s, and to see him sliding on Fred Gibson's oil over the Dogleg at Oran Park and casually go on while behind him all and sundry went off the road, well, it spoke loads for his skills..

By the way, the next car that got away with it was that of a certain Arnold Ahrenfeld, in the nineties a truck racer after a long period off the circuits. In 1966, Ahrenfeld was so much tidier than the rest of the field in practice at Catalina Park that Peter Brock walked up to me and said, "He's got the best line through there..."

No, I do think it's safe to say that Colin was past him prime in the eighties, but it may not have been in raw skill available. Perhaps it would be more in the line of motivation and desire to succeed, and that 1990 was a bit of a purple patch for him in that regard.
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Old 14 Jun 2001, 08:26 (Ref:105028)   #9
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Another couple of drivers I can think of Marku Alen and I was luky in the early Ninties to meet and work with Ranuo Aalttonen who's record speaks for it's self.
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Old 18 Jun 2001, 16:24 (Ref:106471)   #10
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i have to admit

ignorance about Colin Bond. Sounds to have been something special though. However, in my view anyone who drove and mastered the latter Gp B cars was streets ahead of the majority of drivers. Unfortunately as a yon whippersnapper of 20 I didnt get to see them in real life but have spent a fortune on videos.

My favourite was probably Henri Toivenan. Although I reckon the best was Ari Vatennan. Nowadays though it is without a doubt Colin McRae who is best. Although I admit he could do with Makinen levels of reliability over the last few years...
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Old 18 Jun 2001, 21:56 (Ref:106628)   #11
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Maybe this will be a surprise, too... I'll throw the name Evan Green into this ring. Though I never saw him, he was apparently absolute dynamite in short events in the Cooper S days.

Later he drove the Land Crabs in the first Marathon, the Triumphs in the London-Mexico and then was dominating the London-Munich in the lumbering P76 till the road ran out in the desert and 85% of the field got lost. Even so, he set fastest time on the Targa section and passed 11 cars up one snowbound hill near the finish.
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Old 27 Jun 2001, 14:50 (Ref:110291)   #12
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I think before anyone can be considered to be the greatest, they should have been proven to be quick on all surfaces and in a variety of cars. This means that early to late '80's drivers have a head start, as anyone who has the "Greatest Years Of Rallying - The 1980's" will agree.

Therefore I nominate Walter Rohrl. Anyone agree?

I'd also like to offer Juha Kankunen (No 2WD success at a high level, though) and Markku Alen (Tarmac no-no)
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Old 15 Jul 2001, 08:40 (Ref:117238)   #13
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chunder should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridchunder should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridchunder should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Bob, what planet are you on mate.
Kankkunen won his first rally in a Toyota Celica TwinCam Turbo, possibly the ultimate 2wd car. He won the Safari in 1985.
And Alen not a tarmac man, the guy won Corsica twice in a 037 against the Quattros and 205's, also doing well in Portugal and San Remo on the hard stuff.
For you interest RallyXS have just done a vote amaongst senior men in the sport and voted Waldegard the best. Make of that what you will!
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Old 23 Jul 2001, 11:47 (Ref:120506)   #14
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Good topic, some names thrown out that I will have to look into. Personally i consider rally drivers the best in the world so this topic in my opinion is about the best driver ever. I rate Hannu Mikola very highly, but when you consider the talent it takes to be a great rally driver, I will have to respectfully decline in naming a greatest ever. But if you are FAST on all surfaces, and not just say a tarmac specialist, then you a are worthy of a great deal of respect as a driver.
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Old 23 Jul 2001, 23:53 (Ref:120799)   #15
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I'm sticking to my decision regarding Kankkunen, one rally victory won't do. Having said that, though, I'm not sure how much Kankkunen's relative lack of success on asphalt is due to him believing that the prevalent tarmac rally, Corsica, was too dangerous after the Bettega and Toivonen/Cresto fatalities.

I'd forgotten about Alen's Corsican victories so I think he goes joint first with Rohrl. Maximum Attack!

By the way, there's a website where you can download Vatanens Pikes-Peak onboard camera clip from "Worlds greatest Rally Cars". It's 60MB so broadband only.
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