McKlein’s retrospective of the 2001 World Rally Championship has taken a rather damp turn this week with action from a very wet first gravel rally of the year.
Rally Portugal 2001 will go down in history as having the worst weather in living memory. The conditions were bad enough to help eliminate two-thirds of the starters.
At the top of the leader-board the rally was a thriller, ending in a final stage shootout where Tommi Mäkinen edged out Carlos Sainz by a mere 8.6 seconds. This was round three of the 2001 season, where Richard Burns finally opened his points tally with fourth place, whilst his main rival, Colin McRae, came away with another no score, making it a hat trick of retirements for 2001.
For the photographers it was a proper challenge, especially those traditionalists working on ISO 200 transparency film. But perseverance paid off and some of the images were quite stunning.
Quite simply it’s an event we will never forget.