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-->> Stig Bloomqvist meeting <<--
Here's a great story for everyone...
I'm sure all of you have heard by now that, out here in rally central,
this weekend is the running of the 1999 Michelin SCCA ProRally Maine
Forest event in Rumford, Maine. Big deal, right? Well this year is.
Carl Merrill who passed away last year while racing (doing what he loved
best) is being honored at this years event. Ex-Audi Sport factory team
driver, Stig Bloomqvist from Sweden was asked to DRIVE Carl's old
(WeeGee Smith's new) Ford Motorsport 7-spd Escort Cosworth WRC car with
Lance Smith as co-driver. This will make Frank Sprongl get squirmy in
his pants, no doubt.
WOW! Stig Bloomqvist! For us Audi nuts, that is about as good as
"Walter Rohrl, or Hans Stuck, or Hannu Mikkola, or..." you get the
picture. Stig Bloomqvist, for the Audi rally challenged history buff,
won Audi the "Dopple Weltmeistershaft" in 1984, winning the both the
manufactures title and the championship. That was indeed a long time
ago, but he did it in an Audi A2 urquattro. Now that is cool.
I have been involved with designing Vermont SportsCar's graphics
for the last few years and Lance Smith wanted me to detail up his 1998
Mitsubishi EVO V Lancer Gr. N spec SCCA ProRally car and his personal
1999 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS car exactly the same (press photography car).
I spent the entire day yesterday, dollying up the EVO V and the Subaru
in the company of Stig Bloomqvist!!! He has been at Vermont SportsCar
for the last few day getting used to us, helping mount rally tires, pre
running out in Maine, talking cars and drinking up beers. This years
event should be aired on Speed Vision later. An Irish TV company will be
there too, filming the Irish rally nuts who leased the EVO V. This for
me, is a big graphic deal. I proudly placed some of my "studioRS" decals
on the rear wing on the EVO V.
Lance had gone out testing with Stig on Monday in the Cosworth. He
told me that Stig was, "Unbelievable - totally smooth and VERY fast"
"That guy can drive". "He just clicked through the gears like it was
nothing - and sh*t I have NEVER gone that fast before". The smile Lance
had on his face was one I had never seen. I asked him, "Did you need to
bring a "toss your cookie bag" or what? He just grinned and said, "It
should be a great rally".
Just this one rally, for Carl's sake, I wish that Stig whips
Sprongl and Choinere's butt.
I asked my wife before going to the shop yesterday, "Donna what
should I have Stig sign? "Maybe my wagon?" No, what if we sell it?
(Never) Ok, so I'll take my trusty old "History through Progress" Audi
book. Stig had never seen this book before, and after he started going
through it , you could see how much he was taken back to when he was the
champion in 1984. Clearly this was a memorable time for him - it really
showed on his face and how intent he was on looking at a book I got from
AoA for free!!! Near the end of the book there is a picture of him, and
on the next page is a reduced copy of a factory poster showing him
sliding sideways in his A2 urquattro in Greece. I asked if he could sign
the book on this page for me. Done deal.
Later on in the evening... at this point everyone decided it was
time get lots of beer. I was still doing my vinyl thing and no way was
finished with the cars yet. Beer for me, not quite yet. Well, rally guys
are all the same. They just dove right in and started lubing it up. To
join in all this fun, Mark Williams arrived (co-driver for J. Buffum in
the 1995 Camino del Inca Peru rally), and guess where John Buffum goes
after a hard days work of tweaking at his shop -- yup,Vermont SportsCar.
Other famous names who were there; Stig Bloomqvist, WeeGee Smith, Lance
Smith, Colin Smith, Eugene Van Steamburg, some British chap, our own
qlister Ramana Lagerman, Bill Washburn (Ramana's co-driver for this
event) and a couple of my graphic vinyl helpers. Ramana had the shop
prep and service his VW Golf for this event.
At the shop we are all flanked by a plethora of diverse cars from
all years; a 425hp Ford Escort WRC 7spd rally car, a 290hp '98
Mitsubishi EVO V Lancer Gr N spec rally car, Ramana's ???hp VW Golf
rally car, a european spec '80 Porsche 911SC, a Mitsubishi Eclipse rally
car, a few '99 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS's, a full-on frame up restoration
Rolls-Royce project, a 1971 Triumph TR6 and my '87 Porsche 944. What a
night. I finally finished the second car at about 10:30pm. I guess I
started in on the beers with 'em too early.
Thompson Smith http://www.thompsonsmith.com/944.jpg or 200.jpg
1987 Porsche "Carrera GT" 944 / 1989 Audi quattro avant "S6"