Olle Arnesson and Kevin Procter are the only two top class drivers ever to make it from an ERC round C final up to the A and to overall victory.
Yesterday British Ford Focus Mk2 SuperCar campaigner Kevin Procter won the French ERC round at Dreux by coming up to the A final from a 14th place in qualification and, thereby, a place on the C final grid. Procter finished first in the C, second to Russian Timur Timerzyanov in the B, and eventually claimed overall victory in the A final.
Almost 30 years ago as well as also in France this happened in the top category of the European Rallycross Championship only once before. On June 27 1982 at the mudy and very slippery Circuit de Marville, a former airfield near the borders to Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, Swede Olle Arnesson produced the same stunt. Due to several problems in the heats the Audi quattro driver had qualified for the second starting row of the C final only. Here he won with ease to bring his four-wheel driven car to the last row of the B final grid. After the GO the Swede shot into the lead again and subsequently won without coming under any pressure from his competitors.
However, in the all-decisive A final it was another situation as Austrian Franz Wurz and Dutchman Jan de Rooy were also entrusted with Audi’s by then state-of-the-art four-wheel drive machinery. When the six-pack headed into the first corner, led by Wurz, all hell broke loose and the track banking helped some a lot to keep their cars on the slippery circuit. Arnesson, fully aware of the lousy track conditions, had expected utter chaos in bend one and kept himself calm. While Franz Wurz, Rolf Nilsson (Porsche 911 SC), Andy Bentza (Lancia Stratos HF) and Jan de Rooy were sliding around like a bunch of nutters Olle passed them, waved goodbye and headed all alone towards the chequered flag. Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, who drove a Talbot Matra Murena [the car of his compatriot, ex-F1 pilot Jean-Pierre Beltoise] with very narrow mud&snow tyres, escaped the best from the great first corner confusion and some laps later became the runner-up to a happy Mister Arnesson.
Image capture: Olle Arnesson (Audi quattro) pictured in 1982 at Marville/France where the Swede won the C, the B and the A final. © Eddi Laumanns/ERC24