Rauno Aaltonen Returns To Monte Carlo

2017 was the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 victory by Rauno Aaltonen at the Monte Carlo Rally in a Mini.  To commemorate that victory, BMW entered a Mini Cooper S in the 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique that was crewed by Rauno Aaltonen along with Swedish co-driver Hans Sylvan.  Their Mini Cooper S is shown below in Monaco.

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Austin Mini Cooper S Entered For Rauno Aaltonen In The 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique

I had the pleasure of meeting Rauno Aaltonen as we prepared our cars in Bad Homburg before the Rallye Monte Carlo Historique started and I had several conversations with him during the rally.  I can say that he is a true gentleman and obviously is very knowledgable about rallying.  He has a well deserved nickname of “The Professor”.

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The Original Mini Was A Very Successful Rally Car

When Rauno Aaltonen won the 1967 Monte Carlo Rally it was the third official victory for Mini.  It was in actuality the fourth win for Mini when one takes into account the famous Mini “disqualification” in 1966.  I think that Stuart Turner said that Mini got more publicity from the disqualification in 1966 than they would have gotten if they had won.

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Hans Sylvan’s “Office” In The Mini

I also had the opportunity to meet with Rauno Aaltonen’s co-driver for this event, Hans Sylvan.  Hans was a successful WRC co-driver in the late 1970s with many good finishes co-driving for Per Eklund, Stig Blomqvist, and Achim Warmbold.  Hans and I are both doing some work for the Endurance Rally Association so we compared notes.  Hans is working on The Baltic Classic Rally coming up in May 2017, while I am working on the 2018 Trans-America Challenge.

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Rauno Aaltonen/Henry Liddon Winning The 1967 Monte Carlo Rally

Rauno Aaltonen has a driving school in Finland and also works for BMW giving demonstration rides to journalists and other BMW/Mini enthusiasts.  When I first met Rauno we had a long discussion about rallying and we exchanged cards.  When he left and I was continuing the work on our car, I thought to myself that I had missed an opportunity to get his autograph.  Imagine my surprise when Rauno came back in about three minutes with an autographed picture of himself and he said to me: “I want you to have this.”  I could not say “Yes, thanks!”  fast enough and now that autographed picture is on my wall at home.

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The 1967 Victory Was The Third (Actually 4th) Win At Monte Carlo For Mini

The 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique did not go that well for Rauno Aaltonen/Hans Sylvan.  They had an electrical failure of their rally computer on the first regularity stage which resulted in a non-competitive score.

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Hans Sylvan, Stig Blomqvist, And Rauno Aaltonen At The Awards Gala Dinner For The 2017 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique 

There were a number of Mini Cooper S cars in the rally, but clearly many people wanted to see Rauno Aaltonen and the Mini with Car #177.  As you might have noticed, #177 was the same number that Ruano Aaltonen had on the side of his winning car in 1967.

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Hans Sylvan & Rauno Aaltonen Heading Out From Monaco To The Regularity Stages

If you have any questions or comments about this post or the topic discussed, then leave a comment below or you can send me private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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