FOR­GOT­TEN AUDI GROUP S RE­TURNS

Wal­ter Rohrl gets be­hind the wheel of rally car that was never used

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - By Paul Lawrence

Ral­ly­ing his­tory was made at the Eifel Ral­lye Fes­ti­val last week­end when the Audi S pro­to­type from 1986 ran for the first time in public.

As the event cel­e­brated 30 years since the end of the Group B reg­u­la­tions, Audi Tra­di­tion de­cided to field the unique Group S pro­to­type with Wal­ter Rohrl at the wheel.

As part of a record-breaking field of 60 Group B and Group S cars, the mid-en­gined Audi com­pleted more miles than it has in the 30 years since the project was aban­doned.

Group S was the planned re­place­ment for Group B, with power lim­ited to 300bhp and a re­quire­ment for only 10 ex­am­ples to be built. How­ever, fol­low­ing se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents in 1986, Group B was banned and Group S was shelved in favour of the more stan­dard Group A.

Sev­eral man­u­fac­tur­ers built pro­to­type Group S cars and the rules were later re­vamped in 1997 to form the ba­sis of World Rally Car reg­u­la­tions.

“The Eifel Ral­lye Fes­ti­val with its theme of Groups B and S was the per­fect venue for us to cel­e­brate this pre­miere,” said Timo Witt from Audi Tra­di­tion. “So we can make a great con­tri­bu­tion to this fes­ti­val. And here our pro­to­type has com­pleted more kilo­me­tres than be­fore in 30 years. How­ever, we must also be care­ful, this is a sin­gle piece and all parts are ir­re­place­able.”

Twice World Rally cham­pion Rohrl said: “It was a ter­rific ex­pe­ri­ence to be able to drive this unique pro­to­type at its global pre­miere in the Eifel Ral­lye Fes­ti­val.”

Pho­tos: Paul Lawrence

Rohrl drove the Gp S pro­to­type

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