Currently reading: From the motorsport archive: on this day in 1977
Ford's Swedish rally driver Björn Waldegård impresses after an "immaculate and professional drive"

The World Rally Championship arrived in Britain in 1977 for a RAC Rally that had regained some of its lost stature, with a new route, tighter timing and longer special stages – plus every kind of weather you could imagine in November. 

Fans were enjoying a tightly fought battle at the top between the Ford Escort RS1800 and the Fiat 131 Abarth, and the leading driver was Ford’s Swedish star. 

“An immaculate and professional drive took Björn Waldegård to victory,” we reported, “ahead of a similarly polished drive from Hannu Mikkola in his Toyota Celica. The pristine cars of these two were a marked contrast to the battered machines that some of the other top 10 finishers brought home. 

“Waldegård took the lead as the rally hit the Welsh forests and never looked like losing it. Mikkola hung on but gradually fell back and only really put the pressure on again on the final day in an effort to narrow the gap and force an error. 

“Even six punctures could not handicap Waldegård enough to be caught. lt was a rally that rewarded the traditional virtues of speed, consistency and professionalism of driver and team.” 

Unfortunately for Ford, it wasn’t quite enough for the title, despite their Italian rivals’ poor showing.


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