One of the great unsung heroes of rallying, Pentii Airikkala has passed away at age 64, after a long illness. He was a mainstay of the British championship during the '70s and '80s, winning in '79 in a Vauxhall Chevette (nothing like the US car of the same name as the pic shows)
His career suffered through his allegiance to Vauxhall, whose cars were never really great and who had no solution when GroupB arrived, but in the twilight of his career his great perserverance gained him his only WRC win in what was then one of the toughest events in the calendar, the RAC. The story of that event is told here. (This was the last RAC I attended and I was actually present at Ari Vatanen's "incident" @ about 5:45) The footage also has a glimpse of Colin McRae's early career, in his legendary style!
Pentii went on to run a rally school in the UK and became the mentor of many young Finnish drivers making their moves in that country, notably Miko Hirvonen and Jari-Mati Latvala.Put your right foot on the accelerator and your left foot on the brake. Whichever you press, press HARD – Pentii Airikkala