The organising committee for the Australian Rally Hall of Fame is excited to confirm legend Ari Vatanen will be the guest speaker at an upcoming gala dinner which will include the unveiling of the 2014 Hall of Fame inductees.
The gala dinner on the 27th of February will precede the opening Round of the 2014 East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship, the National Capital Rally.
The 2013 Hall of Fame gala dinner saw the inaugural induction of Australian Rally legends in alphabetical order Neal Bates, Peter (Possum) Bourne, Garry Connelly, Ross Dunkerton, Harry Firth, John Large, Jack Murray, George Shepheard, Tom Snooks, Doug Stewart, Donald K Thomson, Ken Tubman and Bob Watson.
Ari Vatanen rose to prominence driving privateer Ford Escorts in the late 1970’s before becoming the last driver to claim the World Rally Championship with Ford in 1981. He went on to race during the spectacular Group B period for Peugeot before going on to win the Dakar Rally four times, three with Peugeot and once with Citroen.
Following the demise of Group B Vatanen and Peugeot conquered Pikes Peak in 1988 and in the process recorded one of the most viewed rally videos of all time, the Climb Dance.
He stayed actively involved with rallying throughout the 90’s with Mitsubishi, Subaru and Ford before making one-off guest appearances during the 2000’s for the likes of Nissan and Volkswagen in the Dakar and a Peugeot 206 WRC at Rally Finland.
Vatanen has a close affinity with Australia, having contested the famous Southern Cross Rally. His appearance in Canberra as the guest speaker at the Hall of Fame gala dinner will mark his return to the National Capital and one of his most famous battles with former Australian Champion Greg Carr, the 1980 Castrol International Rally, where Carr beat Vatanen by ’40 split seconds’.
With Vatanen’s confirmation as the guest speaker Australian Rally Hall of Fame organisers are expecting significant interest in the 2014 gala dinner which will be held on the evening of Thursday 27th February at the Rydges Lakeside in Canberra.
Organising committee member Coral Taylor (pictured with Vatanen earlier this month in Paris) said: “To have someone of Ari’s pedigree confirmed as the guest speaker at the 2014 Australian Rally Hall of Fame gala dinner is an incredibly exciting announcement to make, we are thrilled to have Ari agree to be a part of the event.”
Fellow organizing committee member Ross Tapper agreed saying: “Ari Vatanen is a rally legend, so to have him on hand to help us usher in the latest inductees to the Australian Rally Hall of Fame feels very special. We hope this gives rally fans an even greater incentive to join us at the gala dinner to support our own rally legends.”
“What better Christmas present than a ticket to the gala dinner,” Tapper added.
Tickets for the Australian Rally Hall of Fame gala dinner will go on sale for $150 per head. Ticket bookings details will be available shortly.