There are lots of fine race driver names in the history of motorsports. Sterling Moss, Alfonso Antonio Vicente Eduardo Angel Blas Francisco de Borja Cabeza de Vaca y Leighton (a.k.a. Marquis de Portago), and the ever popular Dick Trickle come to mind. We'd need to put in a strong vote, however, for Swede rally sensation Stig Blomqvist, winner of the 1984 World Rally Championship drivers' title. He drove for the Audi Sport factory team between 1982 and 1985, his Group B championship-winning season starting in a long-wheelbase Audi Quattro A2 and finishing in a short-wheelbase Sport Quattro S1.
Lucky for us, we recently had the chance to belt in beside The Stig as he powered over a west central Swedish parcours buried in deep snow. Better still, we were able to ride shotgun with the legendary shoe piloting what was essentially the same Sport Quattro S1 he drove for the last part of the '84 WRC season.
In civilian trim, the Sport Quattro S1 was powered by a turbocharged 2.1-liter aluminum block inline five-cylinder good for 302 horsepower. (We had the chance to drive a red example for a few laps of a separate snowy circuit and could only come away wildly impressed at how capable it still is).
In the race trim as driven by Blomqvist, the Sport Quattro S1 was stuffed with anywhere from 444 hp to north of 500 hp. As The Stig testified to us over the course of the drive, torque was "around 500 Newton meters," or about 369 pound-feet, which is pretty heady stuff in a car that typically weighed 2,400 pounds dry and had a noticeably brief wheelbase of just 86.8 inches. See what we mean by watching the in-car video below (Blomqvist doesn't really get cooking until about two minutes in).
Exploding, lunging and smoothly landing after leaps as though on the moon in this rally-spec S1 is remarkable stuff. With its ultra short wheelbase, the sensation is that of spinning on a fulcrum point directly under one's tush. The tires for our demonstration drive were not of the invincible spiked variety, but milder Monte Carlo Rally-regulation studded treads – Michelin 16/61-15X M+S. Maybe it was this fact that seemed to keep The Ur-Stig from really busting loose like we've seen him do before in the car. After all, these racing S1s can get to 60 mph from a stop in three seconds flat – they're explosively quick.
We couldn't resist asking him which car he enjoyed more, the Quattro A2 with its 12.6-inch longer wheelbase or the truncated Sport Quattro S1. With almost no hesitation, Blomqvist affirmed that he much preferred the A2's driving characteristics to those of this stubby S1.
Could have fooled us from the way he was driving it.