The AutoClassics Quiz: Rallies and Records

You may know the big motorsport names and achievements, but does your knowledge stretch to that of a pro? Take our quiz to find out...

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Which vehicle won the first-ever Paris-Dakar Rally in 1979?

The first running year of the Dakar Rally event – commencing on December 26, 1978 from the Place du Trocadéro starting line and wrapping up at the Dakar, Sengal, finish on January 14, 1979 – saw 182 competing vehicles made up of some 80 cars, 90 motorcycles and 12 trucks contesting for victory in the inaugural Paris-Dakar Rally.

A Yamaha XT 500 bike ridden by Cyril Neveu was first to cross the finish line, despite not winning any individual stages. Jean Claude Morellet, competing under the alias of ‘Fenouil’, had been running second until his BMW suffered catastrophic engine failure with less than 200km of the rally left to run.

The first three to finish all did so with motorcycles; Neveu clinching victory, Giles Comte taking second (also with a Yamaha XT 500) and Philippe Vassard coming in third on a Honda XL 250.

However, the first car to charge across the line was piloted by a French team made up of Alain Génestier, Joseph Terbiaut and Jean Lemordant – in a Range Rover Classic. The top ten was then populated by a Renault 4, two Fiat Campagnolas and a Toyota BJ.

Another French team took the Range Rover to further victory in 1981.

Did Donald Campbell unofficially smash the water speed record?

After several botched attempts due to severe weather, Donald Campbell set off on the first run of his last record attempt at 08.45 on January 4, 1967. Under extreme financial pressure and scrutiny from the press, with a deafening blast of power, Campbell manoeuvred his jet-powered hydroplane Bluebird K7 with a forward surge to commence his water speed record attempt. Aiming for 300mph, his first run recorded an average speed of 297.6mph.

In an unexpected move, Campbell didn’t then stop for refuelling – instead, he hit the water again for his return run. What happened next is forever up for debate, but the result cannot be disputed.

Hurtling down Coniston Water, Campbell clocked a remarkable 327mph only 200m from the recorded finish line. Tragedy then struck, with K7 lifting its nose off the water and flipping into the air. It wasn’t until 2001 that Campbell’s body was eventually located.

His last words, during a 31-second transmission on his final run, were via radio intercom:

‘…Full nose up… Pitching a bit down here… coming through our own wash… er, getting straightened up now on track… rather closer to Peel Island… and we’re tramping like mad… and, er… FULL POWER… er, tramping like hell OVER. I can’t see much and the water’s very bad indeed… I’m galloping over the top… and she’s giving a hell of a bloody row in here… I can’t see anything… I’ve got the bows out… I’m going… U-hh…’

Sadly, the record speed was not recognised by the attending marshals, as the two-way run wasn’t completed. If you can stomach it, the footage can be watched below:

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When was the first FISA international rally for cars running on lead-free fuel?

The Autoglass Tour of Britain, held in 1989, was the first FISA international rally for cars running exclusively on lead-free fuel.

Lanark’s Jimmy McRae led a Scottish 1-2-3 after a gruelling seven days and 2200 miles around Britain and Ireland, ending with a 27-lap race held at Brands Hatch, Kent.

A whopping 20 minutes ahead of his closest rival, Aberdonian David Gillanders, McRae took third place in the final and claimed the overall title. Third place was taken by Robbie Head, with Roger Clark arriving in fourth.

The results read:

  • Jimmy McRae – 7 hours 9 minutes 58 seconds
  • David Gillanders – 7 hours 31 minutes 58 seconds
  • Robbie Head – 7 hours 34 minutes 55 seconds
  • Roger Clark – 7 hours 35 minutes 23 seconds

The very first land speed record was set in a Jeantaud during 1898 at which speed?

Starting a passionate rivalry with Camille Jenatzy, Gaston Chasseloup-Laubat set the first land speed record on December 18, 1898 – a blistering 39.24mph. The interesting part? The vehicle was electric, long before Toyota blinded us with the Prius.

Part of a competition organised by the French automobile magazine La France Automobile, Jenatzy took the record less than a month later on January 17, 1899, breaching the 40mph barrier. Not to be beaten, Laubat set a faster run of 43.69mph the very same day.

Was the 1990 Swedish Rally cancelled due to a lack of snow?

The Swedish Rally, traditionally the only World Rally Championship event to be 100 percent certain of snow, had to be cancelled for lack of the white stuff in 1990.

Which driver became the first to compete in 100 WRC events?

Hannu Mikkola became the first driver to compete in 100 WRC events after finishing third in an Audi Quattro in the 1987 Acropolis.

Which four-wheel-steering car first completed a WRC event?

The first finish on a World Rally Championship event by a four-wheel-steering car was the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, driven by Michael Lieu from Hong Kong. He came tenth on the 1988 Olympus Rally held in the USA.

Who won the 1989 Camel Trophy?

The only time Britain won the legendary ‘off-road driving Olympics’, the trophy went to brothers Bob and Joe Ives. We’ll have more on that story soon…

For now, we’ll let this video do the talking…

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