Watch: The rally hero so unfashionable they called him ‘slack’

Watch: The rally hero so unfashionable they called him ‘slack’


Today is the 68th birthday of World Rally legend Timo Salonen, the 1985 WRC champion in one of the most violent and powerful Group B cars of all time – the Peugeot 205 T16 E2.

Perhaps the most unfashionable world champion in rallying history, as he was slightly overweight, chain-smoked and wore huge glasses, his fellow Finns nicknamed him ‘loysa’ – which literally translates as ‘slack’.

Brought in to the works Peugeot team in the 1985 WRC by Jean Todt in a support role to Ari Vatanen, Salonen was promoted to team leader following Vatanen’s near-fatal crash in Argentina. Unleashed, Salonen won four rallies in a row, beating Audi’s Stig Blomqvist by a huge margin of 52 points.

Although he’d only finish third in 1986, his seven Group B victories make him the most successful driver in rallying’s most-deadly era.

In our clip, watch him master the 205 T16 E2 on his native 1000 Lakes to win the title with three rounds to spare, and then check out his laconic style – and fashion sense – in the interview afterwards!

  • Full highlights of the 1985 1000 Lakes Rally are available on

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