Kiedy Ferdinand Piëch, inicjator stworzenia legendarnych modeli 908, 917 i Can-Am w Porsche, przeniósł się do Audi, postanowił wprowadzić tam nowe standardy jakości. Potrzebował samochodu, który pozwoliłby klientom identyfikować się ze zwycięzcami. Wybór padł na rajdy. Piëch szukał samochodu, który mógłby wygrywać. Na warsztat wzięto Audi Coupé, w którym wykorzystano pięciocylindrowy silnik, lżejszy niż tradycyjne szóstki, ale równie elastyczny. Dodatkowo Piëch zaproponował stały napęd na cztery koła. Ten typ przekładni był wcześniej zarezerwowany głównie dla pojazdów terenowych. Audi Sport Quattro było pierwszym samochodem masowo produkowanym z tym rodzajem napędu. Zaprezentowane na targach motoryzacyjnych w Genewie w 1980 roku było wydarzeniem roku. Łączyło komfort z osiągami samochodu sportowego. Wyposażony w silniki o mocy 200 KM i dość ciężkie nadwozie typu coupé, był przełomem dla Audi. Stworzona na jego bazie rajdówka, prowadzona przez takie gwiazdy jak Walter Röhrl, Hannu Mikkola, Michèle Mouton i Stig Blomqvist, okazała się niezwykle skuteczna. Quattro odniosło pierwsze zwycięstwo w Rajdzie San Remo 1981 z Michèle Mouton za kierownicą, a potem zdominowało sezon 1982 zdobywając tytuł mistrza świata. Audi Sport quattro S1 to rozwinięcie modelu Quattro Sport. Zostało wyprodukowane w 1984 roku wyłącznie do celów rajdowych. Tym razem inżynierowie otrzymali zielone światło i mogli odejść od modelu produkcyjnego, co w pełni to wykorzystali. W tej ostatecznej wersji cofnęli silnik, chłodnice przenieśli do tyłu, zmodyfikowali skrzynię biegów i uzyskali znacznie lepszy rozkład masy: 52% przód, 48% tył. Znaczące ulepszenia zostały również wprowadzone w silniku, który zyskał elastyczności. Nadwozie zostało wyposażone w imponujący zestaw aerodynamiczny zwiększający siłę docisku i Audi po raz kolejny miało samochód, który mógł wygrać. Od 0 do 100 km/h Audi Sport quattro S1 przyspieszyło w zaledwie 2,6 sekundy. Pierwsze zwycięstwo tego samochodu, odniesione przez Röhrla na San Remo pod koniec 1985 roku, przywróciło zespołowi pewność siebie. Niestety sezon 1986 po dobrej passie został przerwany tragicznym wypadkiem Joaquima Santosa w Fordzie RS200, w wyniku którego zginęło trzech widzów. Po tym zdarzeniu Audi postanowiło wycofać się z rajdów.
Audi Sport quattro S1 wystawione na aukcji zostało zakupione 22 lutego 1989 roku. Dokumenty określają, że samochód wyjechał z fabryki w dniu 14 września 1988 roku, wykończony w kolorze „Alpinweiss”. Egzemplarz zakończył sportową aktywność, gdy miał na zegarze ledwie 1000 km. Jedyną imprezą, w której samochód rywalizował, było zorganizowane przez Michèle Mouton „Race of Champions” w Montlhéry w 1988 roku. Za jego kierownicą usiedli wówczas na zmianę sami najlepsi kierowcy. Choć Audi nie planowało sprzedawać tego egzemplarza, tworzący wówczas muzeum B-grupowych samochodów Olivier Quesnel zdołał przekonać firmę do zmiany zdania. Auto używane było jedynie sporadycznie, a jego silnik przeszedł rewizję na początku 2000 roku. Historia i autentyczność tego egzemplarza są wyjątkowe. Oryginalny i doskonale zachowany stan, zarówno wewnątrz, jak i na zewnątrz, to w przypadku tego modelu coś absolutnie niepowtarzalnego. Dlatego też nie powinna dziwić kwota ponad 2 milionów euro osiągnięta podczas aukcji w Paryżu.
Photos © Peter Singhof
Sale Parisienne 2021 – 05 february 2021
1988 Audi Sport Quattro S1
Estimation 1,000,000 – 1,300,000 €
Sold 2,016,600 €
Chassis no. 85 ZGA 905 016
– Displayed at the Manoir de l’Automobile since 1989
– Sold directly to Olivier Quesnel by Audi AG
– Exceptional condition for a rally car
– Final version of the Audi Quattro, one of the most legendary Group B cars
– Ex Race of Champions 1988
„The greatest monster of them all!” was how Bruno Saby described the Audi Quattro. A monster for the infernal noise it made, its amazing performance and its brutal appearance, especially in its final version, its body hidden under sharp-edged spoilers and aggressive wheelarches.
Even though the Quattro missed its goal in Group B, it had already become the stuff of legend with its WRC title in 1982. That was still in the era of Group 4, and to understand the car’s success we need to go back a little.
When Ferdinand Piëch, the instigator of the 908, 917 and Can-Am at Porsche, moved to Audi, he resolved to bring Porsche’s standards of quality to Ingolstadt. And he wanted it to be known. To promote a road car, which branch of motorsport would be most suitable? Rallying, of course, as this allowed customers to identify with the cars taking part, which were close to the models on sale. It was settled, Audi would go into rallying.
First, it needed a car that could win. It would use the five-cylinder engine conceived by Piëch, an original configuration that was lighter than traditional sixes but just as flexible. In order to put this power down, Piëch had another novel idea: four-wheel drive. This type of transmission had previously been reserved for off-road vehicles and a few small-scale sports cars; this was the first time it would be used on a mass-produced model.
And so the Audi Quattro emerged: unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1980, it was the event of the year. It combined the comfort of a luxury saloon with the performance of a sports car, with its 200bhp engine and rather heavy coupé bodywork. According to Piëch, „With the Quattro, we needed first to demonstrate that four-wheel drive was an advance, not just on snow, black ice or slippery surfaces, but also on normal, well-paved roads in countries with a modern road network.” As Jean Bernardet, a leading motoring journalist, pointed out, „There can be no doubt that the Quattro was a major milestone in the development of road cars, pushing back the limits of their performance and safety.”
It only remained to enter the car in competition, and it was duly homologated in Group 4 in January 1981. With Walter Röhrl, Hannu Mikkola, Michèle Mouton and Stig Blomqvist making up the team of drivers, it proved formidably effective and demonstrated its superiority over the Renault 5 Turbos as soon as the Monte-Carlo Rally, even though it was forced to retire. It scored its first victory on the 1981 San Remo Rally with Michèle Mouton and dominated the 1982 season, winning the world title.
When Group B was introduced, Audi did two things. First, it modified the Group 4 version to allow it – simply by extending its homologation – to be entered in Group B as the Quattro A2. Secondly, it developed a true Group B car, the Quattro Sport, of which 200 homologation versions were built. It was shorter and several changes were made to save weight and increase its power, but Audi’s rivals had time to react to the Quattro’s four-wheel drive and now had their own cars which could compete with it. In reality, the German company’s directors wanted the shape of their car to remain close to the production model. This forced them to keep the engine ahead of the front axle, a layout detrimental to the car’s handling, which was unable to match the Lancia 037 or Peugeot 205 T16. Under the bonnet, the turbocharged 2.2-litre 20-valve DOHC engine was powerful, producing up to 400bhp, but was difficult to control as it had a narrow power band.
In 1984, Mouton came second at Pikes Peak with a special 500bhp version, but in rallying, the Quattro Sport struggled to achieve good results, and although Audi won the title again that year with Blomqvist, its victory was in part down to the Quattro A2.
In 1985, the Quattro Sport gained momentum but came up against the 205 Turbo 16, which won the championship for the first time, driven by Timo Salonen.
It was essential for Audi to develop the model further, and this it did with the Quattro Sport S1. This time, the engineers were given the green light to diverge from the production model, and they took full advantage of this. For this final version, they moved the engine back, relocated the radiators to the rear, modified the transmission and obtained a much better weight distribution of 52:48 front-to rear. Significant improvements were also made to the engine, which gained the flexibility it had lacked. The body was now fitted with an impressive aerodynamic kit to increase downforce and Audi once again had a car that could win. It went from 0-100kph in just 2.6sec and, according to Mikkola, „When you started off, you were thrust forward so brutally that you would have thought that a five-ton truck had crashed into the back of you at full tilt. The power was unheard-of.” The car’s first victory, achieved by Röhrl on the San Remo at the end of 1985, restored the team’s confidence.
But the 1986 season promised to be difficult for Audi. Mouton and Blomqvist moved to other teams, leaving Mikkola and Röhrl on their own to defend its colours. They finished third and fourth in the Monte-Carlo Rally, behind Lancia and Peugeot, and after missing the Swedish event, returned for the Rallye de Portugal. But Joaquim Santos’ tragic accident in his Ford RS200, which resulted in the death of three spectators, led to Audi’s withdrawal from rallying.
The manufacturer nonetheless remained faithful to Pikes Peak, where the results were important in the North American market. After Mouton and Bobby Unser had won the event in turn in 1985 and 1986, Audi entered a Quattro Sport for Röhrl in 1987. For the 12.4 mile-long hill climb, known as „The Race to the Clouds” – which started at an altitude of 9400ft and finished at 14,124ft – Röhrl’s car was undoubtedly the most extreme Quattro Sport S1 ever built. With 600bhp and a weight of 2200lb, a turbo system which ensured that the boost pressure never dropped off and spoilers everywhere, the car beat the record with a time of 10:47.85. Audi’s honour was saved and the Quattro could retire from competition, leaving the memory of one of the most spectacular rally cars of all time.
The car for sale
In 1988, Mouton decided to organise the „Race of Champions” at Montlhéry as a tribute to Henri Toivonen, who died during the Tour de Corse in 1986. The first event was held on 4 December and combined parts of the official circuit with sections – some of them on gravel – inside the ring. The last eight world champions took part in the race, run as a timed special stage, with the drivers following one another in the same cars loaned by the manufacturers. The „Champion of Champions” received the Henri Toivonen Trophy, and for the first edition, it was awarded to Juha Kankkunen, ahead of Timo Salonen.
Let us allow Olivier Quesnel, then a director of the Hommell Group, to pick up the story: „Michèle Mouton came to see us at our offices in the rue de Lille and we gave her some help finalising the organisation of the event, particularly on the communications side.” The programme, moreover, was published as a special edition of Auto Hebdo, one of the group’s titles.
„I naturally went to Montlhéry on the day of the race”, Quesnel continued, „and suddenly I was struck by the sight of an Audi Quattro Sport S1. I said to myself, „That car’s for me!” I went to see the person in charge of the Audi, who told me that the cars were not for sale. I had another go, talking about my background at Peugeot Sport with Jean Todt, asking Michèle Mouton to support me and emphasising that the car was for a museum.
Finally, after pestering them for a long time, they agreed to sell me the car. I then went to Ingolstadt, and there in the courtyard were several competition cars under covers and, in the middle, the Quattro S1 reserved for me, with no cover and the sign „Welcome Olivier”! It was quite moving.
We completed all the paperwork with Audi AG, including a lengthy sales agreement, and my team went to collect the car and deliver it to Bruno Saby in Grenoble to be prepared before it was installed in the museum. It so happened that the same weekend, Bruno was organising an event for charity on the racetrack, which dated back to the 1968 Olympics. When he saw the Quattro arrive on its trailer, he succeeded in persuading me to let him drive it. I just asked him to take care… Then Ari Vatanen turned up and asked me the same thing. And finally Michèle Mouton. I couldn’t say no! But the turbo broke. I asked Audi for another one, and after the car had been repaired, it went to the museum.”
The file with the car includes a letter from Audi Sport dated 22 February 1989 signed by H.P. Gassen and S. Krause referring to the sales agreement, as well as the sales invoice dated 9 March 1989. The invoice specifies that the car left the factory on 14 September 1988 finished in 'Alpinweiss’ and that it had 1000km on the clock. As its production date and mileage confirm, the Race of Champions was the only event in which the car competed, in the hands of the top drivers who took turns behind its wheel. It was sometimes used by rally drivers visiting Lohéac, and the engine was rebuilt at the start of the 2000s. Its history and authenticity are exceptional, as its remarkably well preserved original condition, both inside and out, confirms.
When he drove the car again recently at Lohéac, Saby told us, „It didn’t feel heavy, thanks to its power, which was a big part of the pleasure of driving it. Although it was fitted with gravel tyres, I could feel straightaway that the car was well balanced. It may have had even more potential than our Lancias.”
Nowadays, Quattro S1s are extremely rare. Some have been destroyed, while Audi Tradition has kept several of the survivors. The opportunity to buy one from a private owner is therefore exceptional, especially for an example which has been so well preserved.
We inform buyers that all the vehicles in the collection have been little used during the last years as they are part of a museum collection. They are sold as presented and therefore require recommissioning before being driven on the road.
The drivers who competed in the Quattro Sport were members of an exclusive and impressive club. They included Hannu Mikkola, Michèle Mouton and Stig Blomqvist, but Walter Röhrl was perhaps the most iconic of them all.
The son of a stonemason, the German driver grew up in Regensburg and first took part in the WRC in 1973, driving an Opel Commodore. His tally of results includes one title as European Rally Champion in 1974 (Opel Ascona), one title in the African Rally Championship in 1982 (Opel Ascona 400) and two world titles, in 1980 (Fiat 131 Abarth) and 1982 (Opel Ascona 400). A four-time winner of the Monte-Carlo Rally, in four different cars, he moved to Lancia in 1983 to drive an 037, before turning to Audi, where he spent four seasons from 1984 to 1987, delivering some of the Quattro Sport’s best results, including its final victory in rallying, on the San Remo in 1985. Among Röhrl’s greatest feats with the S1 was his victory at Pikes Peak in 1987, where he was the first driver to break the 11-minute barrier.
He regularly attends historic events, sometimes taking the wheel of his former rally cars, much to the delight of his fans.
At the start of the 1970s, I had the privilege of meeting Michel Hommell and Olivier Quesnel, before they had forged the perfect collaboration.
Olivier, Patrick Tambay’s closest childhood friend, started his career working in PR for the Simca Racing Team, before joining Jean Todt at Peugeot Talbot Sport, and Michel Hommell, a former R8 Gordini Cub competitor, was diversifying his motorsport-themed publishing group, which included the flagship publication „Echappement”. Following a first dinner they shared the uncanny feeling of having known each other forever. They found reasons to meet, particularly for games of squash where the loser offered the winner a case of wine, and the publisher vowed: „I will ask you to join me when I have the means to pay for your talents”.
This came to pass in 1984 and six months later, Olivier took over the running of the group. For the next 25 years, the two friends lived in each other’s shadow, working in the same office. Two visionaries, one calm, optimistic and tenacious, the other rigorous, quick-witted with an eye for the big picture.
At the end of the 1980s, in his château in Wideville, Jacky Setton assembled a collection of Formula 1 „winners”, with a vision, originality and ambition that I have described in „Une Collection d’Avance”. It was with the same aim that our two accomplices approached the rally discipline, amazed by the performance of these cars and the courage and skill required by the drivers to tame them. Michel and Olivier were boosted by their own involvement, during the 1988 season in the French Rallycross Championship, with the talented Bruno Saby at the wheel of the monstrous Lancia Delta S4 in Metal 5 colours. This S4 would form the cornerstone of a collection they went on to assemble from across Europe, just as these ephemeral and iconic Group B cars were leaving the scene, providing an obvious appeal and a guaranteed authenticity. The Group B room is one of the most thrilling sections of the museum in Lohéac, combining the uncompromising brutality of these victorious beauties with an admiration for the talents of their drivers, tightrope walkers on the fragile thread of life.
In 2008 Olivier was offered the management of Citroën Racing, and Peugeot Sport the following year. The result: 4 driver’s and constructor’s world championship titles for Citroën and two first places at Le Mans in 2009, as well as a World Endurance title in 2011 for Peugeot. Meanwhile, Hommell built himself a kind of feudalism of which he has become the benevolent lord. It offers a celebration, reanimating the sleepy village of Lohéac, a museum, bringing together more than 400 cars, an exhibition of popular Arts and Traditions, and sport, with the creation of a circuit capable of hosting a round of the Rallycross World Championship…
The friendship continues, as strong as ever, summed up by the words of Montaigne talking about La Boétie: „because it was him, because it was me”.
The collection reflects the personality of these two inseparable competitors!