Picture of the week: The medal deserving campaign

Louise Aitken-Walker impressively drove a Nissan 240RS in the British championship in 1986

unnamed (50) girardo watermark

Built to further Nissan’s success on marathon-style African rallies, the Japanese manufacturer’s interpretation of Group B regulations was rudimentary.

Rudimentary to the point of agricultural.

The thinking was straightforward and simple: a decent chunk of power from a 2.4-liter engine aided by pair of 50mm twin-choke Solex carburettors fed to the rear wheels via a live axle and a five-speed gearbox.

Nothing flash.

And it almost worked. Timo Salonen came within a whisker of winning a Safari in one.

In Europe, in 1986, it was nowhere. It was a brute of a thing to drive – but more often than not something of a spectacle, arriving in to corners like a sideways house brick.

Which is why Louise Aitken-Walker deserves a medal for embarking on a British campaign in one in 1986.

Fifth on the Welsh, her season ended with a credible 15th on the RAC Rally, where this Girardo Archive shot comes from. The Scotswoman’s car – formerly driven by Shekhar Mehta – was the only factory 240RS run on the final European round for Group B.

With Group A arriving in time for the start of 1987, Louise’s new car couldn’t have been more different. From almost 300bhp through the rears, the new year and next generation brought a Peugeot 205 GTI and half the power through the fronts.

Immediately on the pace, she and co-driver Ellen Morgan won class A6 and placed the Peugeot in the top six on the National Breakdown Rally in Yorkshire. Little wonder she went on to become the inaugural Ladies World Rally champion just three years later.