Audi Quattro S1 E2 #5 – Spark

1985 Audi Quattro S1 E2 #5
Pilots: W. Röhrl / C. Geistdörf
Team: Audi Sport 
Race: 1st place at the Sanremo Rally in 1985
Spark - S5192 (resin)

Published 08/15/23

In 1977 chassis designer Jörg Bensinger proposed a new concept: a high-performance car with four-wheel drive. The idea was to have a car with exceptional handling in situations with low traction, like the winters in Europe. Audi’s upper management approved the project, and in late 1980 the new Audi Quattro was available in Europe. Internally called Typ 85, the Quattro shared many parts and platform with the 1973 Audi 80 Coupé. Originally the engine was a 2144 cm³ inline-5 with 10 valves and SOHC. With a turbocharger and intercooler, it delivered 147 kW (197 hp) and 285 Nm of torque. That allowed a 0 to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds and a top speed of over 220 km/h. Though the Quattro was primarily intended as a passenger car, Audi also had an eye on racing. Specifically, the World Rally Championship.

Hard to believe that this Group B monster used the same platform as the pedestrian Audi 80 Coupé.

Shortly before the release of the Quattro, FISA changed rally racing rules, allowing four-wheel drive. That being so, Audi had the perfect weapon for the job. The Quattro debuted in January of 1980 in the Jänner Rally, in Austria, as a development car. The body was basically the same as the road-going version, yet the engine was tuned to produce 244 kW (304 hp). For the 1981 season of the WRC the Quattro participated on a formal basis, with very good results. Hannu Mikkola won two rallies and achieved one more podium. Later on, Michele Mouton won the Rally Sanremo, becoming the first and only woman to win a world rally race. The following year, in 1982, the Quattro won seven races and took the WRC title. However, in 1983 FISA stirred up the pot, introducing the new Group B regulations.

One of the big improvements introduced with the S1 E2 was the turbo air recirculating system.

For the new rules, Audi enhanced the Quattro with the A1 version and soon after with the A2. The biggest improvement was the engine, boosting power to 261 kW (350 hp). The A1 won two races in 1983, while the A2 won another three. In 1984 it won five world rallies, and Audi won again the WRC. Since the competition didn’t stand still, for 1985 Audi released a new version – the S1. Audi used an all-aluminum inline-5 displacing 2133 cm³, with DOHC, 20 valves, Bosch fuel injection and a K27 turbo. In race trim it delivered 331 kW (444 hp). The S2 also counted on a carbon-kevlar composite body shell and enlarged wheel arches, to accommodate 9” wheels. Later that year came the S1 E2, with a special recirculating air system that kept the turbo always spinning. That almost eliminated turbo-lag, and the engine produced 368 kW (493 hp).

Here you can see the S1 E2 going through sand, mud, snow and asphalt. A beast!

Weighing only 1090 kg, the S1 E2 could accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 3.1 seconds. The car, with its impressive engine and aggressive aerodynamic body kit, was a beast. It debuted in August in the Rally of the 1000 Lakes (Finland), coming in second. The next race, in September, was the Sanremo Rally, where Walter Röhrl and Christian Geistdörfer came in first place. Though the S1 E2 would continue racing through 1985 and 1986, Sanremo would be the last win for the Quattro. In the 1986 Portugal Rally a RS200 ran off the road and killed three spectators, injuring dozens more. After that, Audi withdrew their works team from the Championship. To make things worse, later that year, in the Tour de Corse, Henri Toivonen suffered a fatal accident with his Lancia Delta S4. Consequently, with all the accidents, FIA abolished Group B racing. 

A milestone for the W-143 Garage: my 500th model!!!

The Quattro S1 E2 was the final Group B car to come from Ingolstadt. Like other Group B era cars, it was an absolute monster. With FIA turning a blind eye to what could happen in the races, manufacturers went berserk. Essentially, these cars were too much, and with unruly crowds on the track side, it was a recipe for disaster. To the point that tragedy struck more than once. Therefore, I don’t think we’ll never see anything like them ever again.

As far as rally cars goes, the Quattro is one of the true kings. And spark makes a heckuva model.

Fortunately however, Spark allows us to have a few of those monsters in 1:43. And what a glorious model, I have to say! The car looks absolutely stunning in scale, with all details masterfully recreated. Yeah, yeah, it’s not a Le Mans car, nonetheless Mercury is cool about this one. The Quattro is probably the poster boy for the Group B era. Therefore, with Mercury’s approval, you might see some special rally cars around here…😁

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