Vale Hannu Mikkola

Legendary works Audi Rally Driver, Hannu Mikkola has passed away aged 78

One of the original Flying Fin’s has passed, leaving a legacy fast, flowing driving in machines only a handful of people in the world were able to tame.

It is with great sadness we remember Hannu Mikkola, who is revered by generations of rally fans around the world, including those who watched the flying Fin dominate New Zealand roads over years of competing in the Rally of New Zealand. An event he won in 1979 driving a Ford Escort RS1800.

The Finn’s career spanned more than three decades, of which he experienced the most successful part at Audi during the famed Group B era.

From the very beginning he was involved as a driver in the development and rally program with the Audi quattro, starting in 1981. Exactly 40 years ago, he celebrated the first victory of the all-wheel drive model in a round of the World Rally Championship in Sweden in February 1981.

Two years later, he was Audi’s first World Champion and the first driver to achieve this title with a four-wheel drive car. Audi was already a “gamechanger” back then, as all-wheel drive has been an indispensable part of rallying ever since.

In 1987, Mikkola also won the notorious Safari Rally in East Africa for the first time with the all-wheel drive technology that played a major role in the brand’s rise to the premium segment. It was also Audi’s last victory in the World Rally Championship.

Mikkola remained associated with the brand with the four rings well beyond the end of his career and regularly attended events for Audi Tradition, where he repeatedly drove the legendary quattro.

Legends from all over rallying have paid tribute to the man who was gracious and generous with his time and knowledge.

Audi team mate, Michelle Mouton credits Hannu with teaching her how to left foot brake and that, despite already being a legend when she joined the team as a young women, he always treated her as an equal, sharing technical information and imparting wisdom.


With Hannu Mikkola, we lose a particularly esteemed and globally recognized sportsman and ambassador, who will forever have a place in the history of Audi Sport. Our condolences go out to his family

— Julius Seebach, Managing Director Audi Sport GmbH and responsible for Audi motorsport.

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