Toivonen’s often forgotten final victory

Henri Toivonen's final career win came on Rally Costa Smeralda, two weeks before his tragic accident in Corsica


Every time it falls to me to pick the picture of the week from the fabulous Girardo & Co. Archive, I feel an immense sense of responsibility.

A need to justify my choice. A desire to convince others of my thinking.

But I don’t feel I need to do too much explaining this week.

Henri Toivonen and a Lancia Delta S4. Case closed.

Tuesday of course marked the tragic passing of Toivonen and co-driver Sergio Cresto, lost to an accident on the 1986 Tour de Corse far, far too young.

Henri’s therefore been on my mind a fair bit this week. I was 11 years away from being born when he lost his life, but he’s one of those characters I simply would have loved to have met.

He got it. He loved rallying, and had an unassuming manner about him that has always appealed to me – so much so that it’s one of things I try to be myself.

Henri Toivonen Story

Why this particular picture? Well, why not!

First of all, it just looks really (I want to use another word here but for censorship reasons I can’t) cool. That iconic front-end emerging from a dust cloud it has just created as a Finnish god plants his right foot in search of the next corner.

You can almost hear the applause of the crowd, the wonderful whine of the supercharger as Toivonen disappears out of sight.


But the other reason is history.

I pride myself in knowing a fair amount about rallying, but I had no idea Toivonen was ever in Italy two weeks before Corsica, taking on Rally Costa Smeralda.

It tragically transpired to be the 29-year-old’s last ever win in a rally car.

If that’s not reason enough to share and enjoy this incredible snapshot of a fondly-remembered hero with each other, I’m not sure what is.