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  • Writer's pictureSteve Jones

Reis Race Retro’s Rally Stars Revealed - Fan Favourites’ Aaltonen & Vatanen Return


[Image courtesy of Reis Race Retro]

The organisers of Reis Race Retro have revealed a fantastic line-up of Rally stars for 2024 guaranteed not to disappoint as rallying legends Rauno Aaltonen and Ari Vatanen will be at Warwickshire’s Stoneleigh Park from 23-25 February 2024. They will be joined by father and son Championship winning rally drivers David and Tom Llewellin.


Rauno, who will be appearing courtesy of BMW/MINI and Mini Spares, is bringing with him the Mini Cooper he drove on the 2020 Monte Carlo Historique with co-driver and the car‘s builder Hans-Åke Soderqvist.


As the last surviving works driver to win the ‘Monte’, Rauno will share his stories and sign autographs in Hall 3’s Talk Motorsport with Reis area each day. But on Saturday and Sunday, he’ll mostly be found behind the wheel on the Reis Live Rally Stage.


Rauno won the European Rally Championship in 1965, with Tony Ambrose as his co-driver, and the Finnish Rally Championship in 1961 and 1965. In 1966, he partnered Bob Holden in Australia to win the premier touring car race, the Gallaher 500, in a Mini Cooper S at Mount Panorama in New South Wales.


[Image courtesy of Rene Rossmann]


He finished second on six occasions in the Safari Rally, considered one of the most difficult courses in rallying. Other merits include winning the 1961 1000 Lakes Rally, 1965 RAC Rally, 1967 Monte Carlo Rally, 1977 Southern Cross Rally, and a Coupe des Alpes at the Alpine Rally in 1963 and 1964.


BMW/MINI and Mini Spares have brought this legendary car and driver together to celebrate 65 years of the Mini and 60 years since a Mini Cooper first won the Monte.

Rauno will share the stage – both indoors and outside – with Finnish rally driver and fan favourite Ari Vatanen.


British Championship in 1976, Vatanen became a regular competitor in the World Rally Championship from the following year at the wheel of a Ford Escort RS1800. Signed to the Rothmans Ford team in 1979, Vatanen and new co-driver David Richards, now Chairman of Motorsport UK, took their first WRC win at the 1980 Acropolis.


After winning the WRC drivers title in 1981, Vatanen joined Peugeot at the wheel of a 205 T16 and was on course to win the 1985 World Championship until a near-fatal accident in Argentina ended his season and nearly his life.


The Finn recovered to return to the sport winning four Paris-Dakar Rallies in 1987, 1989, 90 and 91, as well as smashing the record for the Pikes Peak Hill climb in a 600bhp Peugeot 405 T16 in 1988.


Show Director Lee Masters said: “To have these rally legends join us for the weekend is a fantastic way to mark our 20th show. Aaltonen and Vatanen are larger than life characters who are guaranteed to delight the crowds.”


Also appearing will be the ever popular Welsh rally driver David (Dai) Llewellin, two time British Rally Champion, and his son Tom, a former Welsh National Rally Junior Champion and British Junior Rallycross Champion.



[Image courtesy of Indira Flack]


Dai and Tom will both be driving over the weekend as well as being interviewed, answering visitors’ questions and signing autographs.


Tickets are now on sale for the show, held from 23-25 February 2024 at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, with free parking for all visitors. For the latest updates and ticket information, visit www.raceretro.com.


[Image courtesy of Reis Race Retro]

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