If there is one moment in time you can trace back to where Audi started to dominate the motorsport and automotive world, it was with the dawning of the Audi Quattro, developed for Group B rally racing. Today almost every model bares tribute to this car signified with the Quattro badge. The legacy is strong with this one.
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In the late 1970s, Audi engineers started toying with the idea of pairing a turbocharged engine with the Volkswagen Group’s four-wheel-drive platform. The result, in 1980, was the Ur-Quattro (Ur being German for “original”), a car that would ultimately change Group B rally racing and, in time, the way sports cars were prepared.
Around this time, a young Group B fanatic named Manuel Leon Minassian was growing up in Beirut, Lebanon, where his heroes were rally drivers like Hannu Mikkola, Stig Blomqvist, and a tall Bavarian named Walter Röhrl. These men were among the first to race Audi Quattros to Group B glory shortly after regulations permitting all-wheel-drive were introduced in 1979, with Mikkola and Blomqvist taking drivers’ titles in 1983 and 1984 and Audi winning constructors’ titles in 1982 and 1984. For a kid like Minassian, these men were superheroes and the Quattro a supercar.
Not much has changed, except that Minassian now has an Ur-Quattro of his own, a car which began life as Vasek Polak’s car and which Minassian chased for many years before finally getting a chance to buy it. And there’s little chance of anyone prying it from his hands, not least because, to do so, they’d first have to catch him.