We tend to think of rally driving as being all perfectly balanced slides, intentional, with the driver and co-driver working in tandem to make a car go faster than the tires would allow, gliding around loose corners. This is not what you see here.
This is the 1993 RAC rally, or Rally GB as we’d call it today. It’s the one in the UK. The British one. As you can see from the video, uploaded by lockdown saviour VHS Rallies, it was slippery. Very slippery.
Again, while a lot of rally driving in theory is setting the car up to intentionally slide around slow corners, what you see a lot of in this video is more just the car stepping out and Juha catching the slide. And catching the slide. And catching the slide. Over and over, mile after mile. On medium-speed corners, on fast corners, even on hairpins you’ll see the car slide at the front and not want to turn, then the rear will suddenly step out. God, the car is sideways in a straight line around 20 to 30 seconds into the video.
Juha is all over the wheel. This doesn’t look easy, nor does it even look fast. It looks hard.
And you can’t forget that he is in, ultimately, a very highly modified sporty hatchback. You try this in your buddy’s 1993 Celica. Hell, even if I was put behind the wheel of this very Group A homologated rally car, on this stage, on that day, I’m sure I’d be in a tree within a few corners.
What I like about this clip is that you’re not watching a total amateur just learning the ropes. This is the legendary Juha Kankkunen at the wheel with the equally-legendary Nicky Grist calling the pacenotes. They went on to win the event and the championship that year.