“If it hadn’t been for Alén’s stirring drives, then the 1984 World Champion would have been my number one. Hannu has driven much better this season than he did in his championship year, but like Markku had a fairly ignominious Monte. Portugal and New Zealand were quite brilliant drives, ones which Hannu enjoyed as well. He is however getting a little tetchy about references to his age, but the fact he is 42 hasn’t blunted his skills, although golf sometimes seems to be more of a priority than rallying!”
Such were the slightly tongue-in-cheek words in the 1984-1985 season driver review in Rallycourse, the essential rallye yearbook. Back then, the 1984 World Champion Hannu Mikkola was only 42; today, he turns 70. Let us wish him a happy birthday and have a quick look at the aforementioned Rallycourse edition while we’re at it. All photos are clickable for larger size.
The book – a pocket change pick from a library’s sale shelf – is excellent reading for a ’80s car geek. There are thorough, well-written articles, exhaustive lists, excellent photos and great ads from the golden days of Group B rallying.
After Audi took the laurels in 1982 and 1984, the competitors took four wheel drive extremely seriously. Naturally, the book covers the other manufacturers’ exploits as well, cut-out photos and all.
And back to Hannu, here photographed on a leisurely stroll with the 1985 champion-to-be Stig Blomqvist at the Ivory Coast Rally. Wonder if he has a copy of the book? I’d say a nicer-condition one would make a reasonable birthday present.
Mine’s going back in my bookcase – next to the 1984-1985 Autocourse F1 yearbook.
[Images: Copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen, RALLYCOURSE excerpts and photos by Hazleton Publishing 1985]