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Henri Toivonen


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#1 William Hunt

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Posted 09 February 2002 - 12:36

i know this is mainly a GP History forum but having seen some rally threads in the past (and not knwing a good rally forum on the net) I thought it might be a good idea to start some Nostalgia tallk about my favourite rally driver ever : Henri Toivonen.

The guy had fabulous talent and whe nI was a kid he used to race for Lancia in that powerfull group B monster car. I will never forget that sad day when he lost his life in the Rally of Corsica. Can anyone tell some nostalgic stories about him ?

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#2 bukusuma

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Posted 09 February 2002 - 15:08

http://www.atlasf1.c...0964#post190964

Bram

#3 William Hunt

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Posted 09 February 2002 - 15:15

Great : another Henri Toivonen admirer !

#4 Rediscoveryx

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Posted 09 February 2002 - 15:50

I'm a big fan of Toivonen. I was pretty young when he died and had just had my eyes opened to the sport of rallying. It was a great shame...

#5 William Hunt

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Posted 09 February 2002 - 15:57

I believe his fatal accident was in 1986 : I was only 8 at that time but already a huge F1 fan (especially Patrese, Piquet & de Angelis) and followed rally too. Elio died in the same year as Henri. I was very shocked.

#6 silver

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Posted 11 February 2002 - 15:34

Henry Toivonen actually once tested a F1 car. That happened during 1981, 1982 or 1983.

The test was organized in Silverstone and if i can remember correctly he tested Arrows.

It was raining the whole day and to everyone`s big surprise at the end of the day Henry Toivonen was 1.4 secs faster than the teams regular driver Raul Boesel.

As i said i am not sure about the team or year but i am 100% sure that it was Boesel was testing with him during that day.

#7 William Hunt

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Posted 11 February 2002 - 15:36

Raul Boesel never drove for Arrows ! He drove for March ('82) & Ligier ('83) though. Is there a picture of that test ?

#8 LittleChris

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Posted 11 February 2002 - 15:59

IIRC Henri Toivonen actually took part in a British F3 championship race about 1984 and performed quite respectably

#9 sat

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Posted 11 February 2002 - 16:16

when I remember correctly Toivonen tested March in Rothmans livery.

#10 BRG

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Posted 11 February 2002 - 16:31

I first really became aware of Henri when he competed on the RAC Rally in 1980 (I think) in a privately entered Sunbeam-Lotus. It stood out because the car was more or less plain white with little visible sponsorship. He ran very well and finished IIRC in 10th place. This was a significant result because, by that date, for a young driver in a privately run car to get into the top ten on the RAC Rally was a major achievement. Especially when the Sunbeam, which had poor traction due to its rotten weight distribution, was not the best car for slippery gravel stages. By the following year's RAC, he was in a factory Sunbeam.

At the time, the name did not ring any bells. His father, Pauli, was not well known in Britain - probably just as well, given his "win" in the Citroen DS on THAT Monte Carlo Rally when four British entered cars (3 Mini-Cooper S's and one Lotus Cortina) were excluded from the first four places on what was regarded as a trumped-up technicality - and Henri had not competed in the UK before, so he was very much an unknown quantity. He was undoubtedly a great talent, but I wonder how good really? When drivers die early in their careers, often a "rose-coloured glasses" syndrome kicks in and we tend to give them more credit than they might have earned had they been spared.

How well he would have done in the Group A cars after Group B was banned, we will never know. He was a terrific RWD car driver. Would he have adjusted as well to the world of FWD and turbos? We will never know - probably, given his ability, but not every driver did.

Still knocking around is Henri's brother Harri. He has been both a rally and a race driver, appearing quite often in sports cars. But as is so often the case with siblings, Harri seems to be the lesser of the two, although perhaps he has never been able to compete with the memory and the legend of his brother.

#11 silver

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Posted 12 February 2002 - 08:00

Yes it was March that he tested.

It was said during B-class super rallycars that Toivonen was the only one who was able to drive them as fast as they could actually go.

When he died in Corsica 1986 he was clearly leading the race even though he had fever for almost 40 degrees centigrades.

#12 sterling49

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 09:21

Originally posted by William Hunt
i know this is mainly a GP History forum but having seen some rally threads in the past (and not knwing a good rally forum on the net) I thought it might be a good idea to start some Nostalgia tallk about my favourite rally driver ever : Henri Toivonen.

The guy had fabulous talent and whe nI was a kid he used to race for Lancia in that powerfull group B monster car. I will never forget that sad day when he lost his life in the Rally of Corsica. Can anyone tell some nostalgic stories about him ?


Henri was one of my favourite drivers too, so exciting to watch, always! I will never forget a fresh air right hander in Wales (around 1980?) when Henri was driving a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus works car(IIRC he had either Paul White or TNF member Mr Gallagher co driving). Henri's entry speed to the corner was amazing, and after he had left the corner, we jumped down onto the track to see how close to the edge his rear tyremarks were........inches in it! He was that accurate....and there was no room for error! Amazing.....I cannot remember if he won the event(but would guess that he did), I seem to recall that it was a warm up for the (real!) RAC Rally of Great Britain. We camped that October in Wales, it was so cold but was it worth it :clap:

#13 LotusElise

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 13:03

He did win the RAC in 1980. He was the youngest driver to win a WRC round at the time, aged 24.
Paul White was co-driving.

#14 sterling49

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 18:27

Originally posted by LotusElise
He did win the RAC in 1980. He was the youngest driver to win a WRC round at the time, aged 24.
Paul White was co-driving.


I remember he was quite young, but 24........the world at his feet, and Henri loved every minute of it, sadly missed, a very talented driver.

#15 J

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 21:27

Originally posted by BRG
He was undoubtedly a great talent, but I wonder how good really? When drivers die early in their careers, often a "rose-coloured glasses" syndrome kicks in and we tend to give them more credit than they might have earned had they been spared.

How well he would have done in the Group A cars after Group B was banned, we will never know. He was a terrific RWD car driver. Would he have adjusted as well to the world of FWD and turbos? We will never know - probably, given his ability, but not every driver did.


Long time, no see BRG.

Henri was leading the WDC at the time he died IIRC. He had won the last rally of the previous season (RAC), and was de facto team leader. His team mate, Markku "Maximum Attack" Alen lost the championship at appeal court after the season was over, so it wouldn´t be too over the top to assume that Henri would´ve won the championship if he hadn´t died.

Unfortunately, if Henri was born to race a Group-B rally car, he was also born to die in a Group-B rally car. Great talent, but zero consideration for self preservation. He used to crash Lancia 037(my all time favourite rally car) almost more often than not. Absolutely No Fear.

The circumstances around his death were disgraceful though, and if I have understod it correctly Lancia paid a significant settlement for his widow.

P.s. Henri would´ve been crap at early group A...

-J

#16 LotusElise

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 21:32

I have read elsewhere that Henri was planning on retiring after the 1986 season. He suffered from some sort of back problem and had sat out part-seasons before, because of it. I think it was exacerbated by some of his crashes, particularly one (can't remember where, off the top of my head) where he drove straight into a wall as if he hadn't seen it.
He was undoubtedly a very quick and skilled driver when his concentration was fully engaged, but as J said, he had no talent for self-preservation and tended to be reckless. This, of course, endeared him to the fans even more.

#17 J

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 21:35

The irony was of course, that despite his talent for open wheel racing (Demostrated in his Formula 3 test, for Jordan IIRC), his Father vetoed it as "It was too dangerous"...

-J

#18 LotusElise

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 21:40

I fear that it would have ended the same way. I know that is a pessimistic view to take, but his temperament would have been exactly the same.

#19 J

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 21:46

Maybe, but there´s a lot less ravines to fall on and and explode in GP racing...

Especially when you are suffering from a high fever and racing who knows how many kilometers per day.

-J

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#20 LotusElise

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 21:52

The speeds are higher, there are barriers to crash into and there are other drivers getting in your way on the circuits. However, I'm not going to get into an argument over the technicalities. :)

We must also not forget that the S4 he was driving for the last time had no sump guard, leaving the fuel tank unprotected and probably causing it to rupture when it did. The car's bodyshell was combustible and would not have protected anyone in that situation.

The "driving into a wall" incident I mentioned earlier was the Costa Smeralda Rally in 1985, btw. Henri broke some vertebrae in his neck.

#21 J

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 21:57

Originally posted by LotusElise
We must also not forget that the S4 he was driving for the last time had no sump guard, leaving the fuel tank unprotected and probably causing it to rupture when it did. The car's bodyshell was combustible and would not have protected anyone in that situation.


I think the only safety measure that I can recall from from Grop-B was that you had to carry "a fire bottle" (someone can correct the correct term - I´m on my third Balvenie..)with you. Absolutely insane period in rallying - And fascinating as hell to me as a teenager for sure!

P.s. I understand your point, and you are right of course.

-J

#22 LotusElise

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 22:13

A very spectacular period, and very fascinating to me, too.

#23 Repco von Brabham

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 22:21

Henri race with me, in the British F3, 1981.

Great guy.,

#24 J

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 22:23

Tell us more...

-J

#25 Andrew Hope

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 07:13

Henri, Sergio, Attilio.

Godspeed :smoking:.

#26 jjs

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 15:14

Few comments:

Henri drove RAC in -79 with Total -sponsored Group 4 Escort RS. Next year he won with 424.
-78 he drove there with Group 2 Avanger.

He`s father Pauli ("Tiger") was very succesful driver here in Finland, and in europe too (won ERC 60`s) , and was first ones who really were professionals in rallying. He never really recovered after Henri`s death.
Maybe not so well known fact; he refused to take he`s first price after that scandal-monte, and said he will not drive ever for french team....

Edited by jjs, 03 May 2010 - 15:15.


#27 mfd

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 22:27

Henri Toivonen - brilliant "must see" tribute. 14 minutes of amazing action
http://www.youtube.c...4...uTY&index=1



#28 paulsenna1

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 03:19

IIRC Henri Toivonen actually took part in a British F3 championship race about 1984 and performed quite respectably



Toivonen finished in 4th place in an Eddie Jordan Ralt in the end of season Thruxton F3 race in 1982.