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GP Week : Issue 27
>> WRC InSIGHT JARI-Matti, do not despair. Somebody else once went off the road in NZ after involuntarily being forced to drive first car on the road. It was in 1993, and he had already become a World Champion. New Zealand always had special memories for Ari Vatanen, never so many as the first time he did the rally. Vatanen recalls a week down- under with a Ford in 1977 ... “1977 had been a particularly hard year. I had been away from home continuously for two and a half months. I remember exactly what we did. It started off with East African Safari, which for me had always been a dream, but demanded a lot of time for recce beforehand. Then I went to do the recce for Acropolis, in the middle of which I went back to Britain to take part on the Welsh Rally. Then I returned for the Acropolis and finally I was off to New Zealand. The only time away from rallying was a short break in the Seychelles. On the journey down to New Zealand I was so tired I think I slept all the way. We went via Hong Kong and I could not resist the chance to go for a few hours into town. I was still so tired I even left a bag in my taxi with a whole lot of new digital watches that I had bought for friends back home. “My codriver for New Zealand was not my regular partner Atso Aho. It seemed to be something about the Ford system that things had to be done their special way, which in this case meant having a local co-driver, who turned out to be Jim Scott. “Our car was really good, but it was very difficult to prepare for the rally even though I had arrived in good time. The rally itself was about 2000 kilometres long, so you can imagine that if everything went well it was going to take a great amount of work beforehand! “Things did not work out well Ari Vatanen (FIN) / Bruno Burglund (SWE) 555 World Rally Team Subaru Legacy RS finished 2nd. World Rally Championship, Rd10, Rally Australia, Perth, Australia, 18-21 September 1993. at all. Despite the fact we had so much recceing to do, this was the time of year that Jim Scott could not afford to spend much time away from home. 37