Ari Vatanen: “In my conduct, I am honest, I do not count”

Ari Vatanen: “In my conduct, I am honest, I do not count”


Sorry for the half hour delay, the alarm clock sound was too low! What is your name ?

Mehdi! But that does not matter, I was able to read the road book, you must go to the Château de Rambouillet (Yvelines).

Poor Medhi, My Poor Medhi! That’s not very professional for me. We will keep warm. I love old car lovers, I can’t drive without the comfort of modern cars.

Are you used to BMWs?

I have already driven this brand in competition, even if it was rare! I participated in 1000 Lakes in 1988 in the M3 A Group organized by Prodrive. I pulled over the broken tie stick. On the ice, I participated in the 24 Hours of Chamonix and the Andros Trophy on the Silhouette M3 as well.

However, to many of our readers, your name matches Peugeot!

205 was a hell number! It was a car that made sense. Little did I know that the Group B period would be a story. I experienced the 1980s experience as if I were in a jumping car. As soon as I got on the T16 in 1983, I knew it would work. However, I was warned: The French are hard to mix with, they do not speak English. I knew Jean Todt very well (then the boss of the Peugeot Talbot Sport. Editor’s Message), then I met Jean-Claude Vaucard (Chief Engineer. Ed) and mechanics. There was something in the sky. It was impossible, as a kind of silent loyalty. I was careful with it.

Do you already speak French?

Not at all. The only English-speaking artist was Portuguese Carlos Barros. Todt, Vaucard and others took their English from the school desks for me. (Laughter) It was not until 1990, when I moved to France, that I learned the language.

Was it easy to understand yourself?

Ah yes, no problem. If you are generous and respectful with your interlocutors, then they will be with you. Then trust can be created. There was a real friendship in Peugeot. This is what made it possible for me to be fulfilled. And then, I actually saw the work of mechanics. They never slept in public meetings to give me quality equipment.

Ari Vatanen © Peter Auto / M. Bonnevie

Bringing for the first time to 205 from its first conference, at the 1984 Tour de Corse!

And that was just the second special! The entire Peugeot leadership had closed the trip. At the time, the brand was in a very bad financial position. The boat was huge. The first evening, in Bastia, I was five minutes ahead of Markku Alén (Lancia). My wife, Rita, was with me to support me. Last morning, I had 90 miles of steps before I won. It was falling from a rope. My partner had left the helmet in the cockpit. When we connect the intercom, we only hear interference: the helmets are dehydrated. All my calmness is gone.

What did you do then?

A special start was the descent. Suddenly I saw Markku’s lights on my mirror, thinking he was hot on my heels. However, it was too far, for the road followed the side of the hill. I broke the brakes without seeing a stream on the right. My wheels are slipping, I go to the rocks and there, it is dark. It was violent, very violent. I asked Terry Harryman, my co-pilot: Are you still alive? “It went. The car stopped on a rock. I got out of the car and saw the fire burning. A minute later, the whole car caught fire. After a few minutes, I realized that my head was wet. My whole face hat was off during the accident! When I got home, daughter mine, who



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