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Rally legend Hannu Mikkola back on the race track at Goodwood Revival

Posted on Monday, August 28, 2006 @ 22:27:12 BST by audioc

Finnish rally legend Hannu Mikkola is set to return to circuit racing at this year's Goodwood Revival, after an absence of almost 40 years. Mikkola last raced at a motor circuit in 1968, when he competed for a season in the British one-make series for Mark I Ford Escorts. With the young Finn more used to competing on Scandinavian loose gravel surfaces than driving in tarmac events, Ford felt that the best way to acclimatise him to tarmac quickly was to enter him in the Escort circuit racing series in preparation for the tarmac in the world rally championship rounds.
Hannu has not raced wheel-to-wheel with other cars since his early days with Ford, so his Goodwood Motor Circuit debut, racing in the St. Mary's Trophy, will give the expected 100,000-plus Revival spectators a rare treat, especially as the track has been re-tarmaced this year, and could prove slippery.

He will drive a rare 1958 DKW 1000, entered by Audi UK. Mikkola became synonymous with Audi and the legendary Quattro rally car during the 1980s, and is looking forward to driving the early saloon, produced by one of the marques of the former Auto Union consortium, that is represented today by the established Audi brand.

Hannu Mikkola says, "I am very excited about prospect of racing on a motor circuit again after so many years, especially at such a prestigious event as the Goodwood Revival."

The two-stroke DKW will form part of a grid full of 1950s production saloon cars, of a type that raced at Goodwood in the St. Mary's Trophy throughout the 1950s, and on into the early 60s. The Fifties racing saloons promise a real David vs. Goliath battle as diminutive Austin A35s lock door handles with the mighty Jaguar MkVIIs. A diverse mixture of period saloons will include a Standard Ten, unusual Holden FX (driven by Australian touring car legend Peter Brock), a Peugeot 203, and a whale-like Lincoln Cosmopolitan.

The St Mary's Trophy race will be run in two parts over the Revival weekend, with Part One on Saturday 2nd September consisting of the vehicle owners driving, and Part Two the next day made up of professional and celebrity drivers. Expect to see Rowan Atkinson, Tiff Needell and Sir Stirling Moss all campaigning in Jaguars, and giving Mikkola a real run for his money in the small DKW.

Hannu Mikkola is a regular visitor to Goodwood's other key motor sport event, the Festival of Speed, held annually each June/July. Hannu used his vast rallying knowledge and expertise to help design the commended Goodwood Forest Rally Stage, which attracted a record number of spectators in 2006.

To the uninitiated, the Goodwood Revival is far more than a series of races for historic cars: it is a magical step back in time and a chance for visitors to revel in the romance of motor racing as it used to be. The lovingly restored circuit is unchanged from its heyday, and great lengths are taken to ensure that everything on the site is exactly as it was. All staff dress in appropriate period clothing from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s and each year more spectators and competitors get into the effervescent Goodwood spirit by dressing the part, considering it all part of the fun.

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