Back in the day, the Audi Quattro A2 was never really at home on the asphalt. That wasn’t the case when Michèle Mouton wound the clock back in downtown Dunedin, 2008.
Competing in the Otago International Classic Rally in a Ford Escort RS1800 that year, the Frenchwomen was invited to guest drive the car Stig Blomqvist used to win the 1984 Acropolis Rally, before Malcolm Stewart bought it off Audi and shipped it to New Zealand. Dunedin’s crowd-pleasing all-asphalt stage was set.
Mouton wasn’t convinced.
“When I was going to the stage, I was asking myself: ‘Why am I doing this?’” she remembers. “I don’t miss the competition, it’s the people and the places that I have missed, so why was I getting back in this car?
“Then when you start to drive and start to push a little bit, the feeling is coming back. When Fabrizia [Pons, co-driver] told me I had to come to this event, she insisted I would love it and I have to trust her. She told me I would love it and she was right.
“Driving the Quattro on this Tarmac stage in Dunedin was fun. For the first lap, I forgot about the button on top of the gear lever for the clutch. You need to use this or you lose the boost from the turbo. When I remembered that, it was really nice.
“In the end there was no pressure and I had a lot of fun. For the whole event, it was very nice, the organizers were treating me like a queen!”