It’s February, so it has to be Sweden, right?
Not here it doesn’t. Welcome to another new DirtFish feature. One of the exquisite benefits of working closely with Girardo & Co is access to its astonishing archive of more than three million motorsport pictures. Have a look for yourself here – it’s an amazing place. But beware, once you go in, you may be there for some time.
The best bit about it? Every one of those 3,000,000-plus pictures is available for you to purchase. Time to treat yourself to some serious rallying art.
As well as a stunning picture – which could have come from any time and any place through rallying’s rich and storied history – we’ll stick some words alongside about what made that picture special for us.
This is a 29-year-old Malcolm Wilson about to make his world championship debut for Austin Rover.
MW’s 1985 season was something of a rich tapestry of speed and experience – not many folk drove three different Group B cars in as many rallies. Wilson did. Thanks to our partner website eWRC-results.com, we can see MW won the Lindisfarne Rally on his debut in Ford’s RS200 on September 7. He then headed across to the Isle of Man, where he crashed an Audi quattro Sport on the Manx International before winning the Nicolet Stage in Wales in an MG Metro 6R4 at the start of November.
This picture is, of course, taken on the 1985 Lombard RAC Rally, more than likely at the start. It’s unusual for the time, with the photographer choosing a ‘fish-eye’ lens to bring in plenty of car detail as well as Wilson looking through the slider in the side window.
One of the more unusual things about the 6R4 was the air intake mounted mid-ships in the door. This wreaked havoc with the rally organizers’ door plates where the numbers were mounted.
The plates were sliced across the top with the event name running on the door, while the number itself ran on the outside of the air intake.
Not long after this picture was taken, Wilson was flying. Second quickest through Clumber Park moved him up to second place – just eight seconds down on Markku Alén’s Lancia Delta S4.
For the next two and a half days, Wilson kept his works 6R4 in touch despite transmission trouble: third fastest through Hafren, second in Dyfi and he was running fifth overall when the car’s engine let go.
Team-mate Tony Pond brought the sister Metro home in a famous third place.