Big and mighty stands it there on this sunny but cool day in autumn with gigantic wings, colossal fender and surrounded from lots of audience of the “3-cities-rally”.
Although in the meantime, Toyota Celica, Subaru Impreza or Mitsubishi Lancer fight for the win on the crushed stone track – the Audi S1 gets avaricious looks. No Miracle. Finally, the spawn of power and force from Ingolstadt started 1986 the last time to the fight for the fastest laps.
Audi Tuner MTM has snatched the power swank and let the 530HP strong Monster off and on free play. As Highlight of the “3-cities-rally” 1997, Armin Schwarz has his hands as ahead-driver on the steering-wheel by 4 special chosen stages. And because in a rally car there are always 2 people, I take a seat on the hot chair next to the former European Master… with different feelings pointed out.
The body-contoured seat, the helmet and the fixed suspender-belt promises indeed a little security, but as Armin awakes the 5-zylinder, my back feels suddenly cold as ice.
The explanation about the instruments and the shifter are quickly done. The dashboard has not really very much to offer. Dominant is the rev counter and the gigantic pilot lamp which warns of a too-depressed oil pressure. Untypical for a challenge car is the installed speedometer. It probably shouldn’t have been installed, but more of that later…
To my question if Armin knows this stage, I get a not very appeasing answer. „No. I have never driven here before“
Fortunately we can drive one round with moderate speed. „I look at the track and try to remember the breakpoint and the corner combinations“, explains
Armin with a concentrated view on the track. „Hopefully he has a good memory“, say the thoughts my mind.
The warm-up lap is done – now it’s going serious. The belts are pulled strong again, the helmet passed and the WP-leader gives the sign to start. The 5 cylinders Turbocharger screams loud. With a „clack“ is the first gear engaged and before I look around and make minds about my doings, I hang in the bucket seat like there is no morning. Two, three, four, five the last shift-level is reached and the viewers fly by. My carefully view to the speedometer gives information about the current speed. After a few seconds already over 200km/h. On a countryside road.
Fortunately, the rev counter is doing the job. We have limited the revving to 6500 RPM. „We can drive over 7.000 RPM”, will tell me Roland Mayer – chief from MTM – later. Thank you, 6.500 is enough for me.
Suddenly, I fall with a powerful flip into the suspender-belts. What the hell is the guy next to me doing?
Armin Schwarz uses the last meters before the drastic 90° corner to postpone the Quattro system. Although the arrow in front of us shows a left corner, Armin turns right. After my driver looks three times through the side window in drive-direction, we finally go left!
I look in the few centimeters ditch beside and yet the 740Nm are pressing forward again. „The car is pushing extremely ahead, but around the corners you have to force it“, screams Armin who sweats slowly but surely. How true, how true!
I have forgotten the cold temperatures yet. I feel completely warm. And as Armin engages the fifth gear on the slightly dirt track, the temperature in my overall increases further. Narrow dirt track with light corners, 200 km/h on the speedometer and Armin working permanently on the steering-wheel. „Oh my God, stand by me“. We drive into the next lap of the special stage. And Armin is pushing a level higher. The pilot brakes even later on the corners, the drifts are wilder. The track will be used till the last centimeters. The detonation from the unburned gas on the exhaust points the shift out.
Slowly but surely, I trust the breakpoints of my driver and my body temperature decreases.
After three rounds, the turbulences have an end – we are finished. Weary gets Armin out of the S1: he is impressed. “The car pushes extremely well. The current rally cars are much easier to drive. The S1 is an engine with two chairs, a monster with elemental force. But at the time of the group B rally cars, each car had its own character“.
Concerning the question with how much percent Armin was on the road with the S1 he answers: „With 80%“
Fortunately for me, I didn’t get to learn what the 20% left are!
Fanfahrbericht MTM Audi S1
Engine Water-cooled five-cylinder-row enigne, four valves per cylinder, exhaust-turboloader
Valves per cylinder 4
Displacement 2.226 ccm
Bore x hub 81,0 x 86,4 mm
Performance / Torque 530 hp (390 kW) bei 7.200 rpm
740 Nm/4.900 rpm
max. boost 2,85 bar
Power transmission Five gears – manual, all-wheel-drive
Suspension Vorn Einzelradaufhängung, an McPherson-Federbeinen, Dreiecksquerlenkern, Stabilisatoren vorn und hinten, innenbelüftete Scheibenbremsen rundum, ABS
0-100 km/h 3,2 s
Top speed depending on transmission ca. 220 km/h