Excerpt from the motorsport archives: that day in 1981 Car News

To the delight of Welsh rally fans, the 1981 Rallysprint television special was to be filmed in Esgair Dafydd Forest in Powys, and some of the best drivers in the world would compete.

One of them was Henri Toivonen, and he agreed to take Autocar’s John Miles on a test drive in his Rally GB-winning Talbot Sunbeam Lotus.

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Miles may have raced for Lotus in Formula 1 before, but controlling the 24-year-old Finn’s car on the rock-strewn, greasy and misty downhill track always amazed him: “My brain was desperately trying to keep up with the rhythm. It was glimpses, nothing continuous. First, how little rev he uses coming off the line, gently breaking traction then powering the throttle, taking second place well before the engine runs out of revs, braking, turning left , the Michelins finding extraordinary grip.

“Shifter movements are short and crisp. He doesn’t brake much with his left foot, but relies on good rear brake bias to drag his tail when he brakes and turns the car. Like Hannu Mikkola, he rarely crosses his hands on the wheel, only when he takes the lock quickly. Braking and cornering are extremely precise, totally confident.

“It seems there’s nothing this man can’t do with a car.”

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This notice was published: 2022-06-16 23:11:23

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