Stig Blomqvist

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Stig Blomqvist
Stig Blomqvist - Lada VFTS 1600cc.jpg
Blomqvist in 2010
Personal information
Nationality Sweden Swedish
Born (1946-07-29) 29 July 1946 (age 67)
World Rally Championship record
Active years 19732006
Teams Saab, Talbot, Audi, Ford, Peugeot, Volkswagen, Nissan, Škoda
Rallies 122
Championships 1 (1984)
Rally wins 11
Podiums 33
Stage wins 486
Total points 573
First rally 1973 Swedish Rally
First win 1973 Swedish Rally
Last win 1984 Rallye Côte d'Ivoire
Last rally 2006 Swedish Rally

Stig Lennart Blomqvist (born 29 July 1946 in Örebro) is a Swedish rally driver. He made his international breakthrough in 1971. Driving an Audi Quattro for the Audi factory team, Blomqvist won the World Rally Championship drivers' title in 1984 and finished runner-up in 1985. He won his home event, the Swedish Rally, seven times.

Outside the WRC, he won the British Rally Championship in 1983 and the Swedish Rally Championship several times. At the Race of Champions, Blomqvist took the title "Champion of Champions" in 1989 and 1990.

Career[edit]

Stig Blomqvist acquired his driving licence at the age of 18, and immediately took second place in a 1964 local rally event near the Swedish town of Karlstad, behind the wheel of a Saab 96. He proceeded to drive with the Saab team, and achieved his first international victories in 1971; first winning the Swedish Rally, then the 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland and the RAC Rally in Great Britain. These performances helped Saab gain second place behind Alpine-Renault in the International Championship for Manufacturers, the predecessor to the World Rally Championship.

Blomqvist in the Saab 99 Turbo (Hunsrück-Rallye 1980)

Blomqvist went on to win the Swedish Rally again in 1972 (Saab 96 V4), 1973 (Saab 96 V4), which marked his first WRC event and win, 1977 (Saab 99 EMS) and 1979 (Saab 99 Turbo).[1] Outside the WRC, he won the 1973 Cyprus Rally, the 1976 Boucles de Spa and the Swedish Rally Championship several times. His long-time association with Saab ended when the Saab Sport department hung up their spurs in 1981. Driving a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus in 1981, Blomqvist finished eighth in the 1000 Lakes and third at the RAC.[1]

Blomqvist driving a Quattro at the 2007 Race of Champions

For the 1982 season, Audi Sport, Audi's factory team, signed Blomqvist to drive the Quattro in a few events alongside Hannu Mikkola and Michèle Mouton. He won the Swedish Rally, finished second in the 1000 Lakes and then took his first WRC victory outside his home country by winning the Rallye Sanremo.[1] Audi then signed Blomqvist as their third regular driver for the following season. Blomqvist scored seven podiums, including a win in the season-ending RAC Rally, and finished fourth in the drivers' world championship.[1] In the British Rally Championship, he captured the title by winning four of the six events.

An ex-Blomqvist Ford RS200

In the 1984 season, Blomqvist drove the Quattro A2 and the Sport Quattro evolutions to five victories, and finished second at the Monte Carlo Rally.[1] Beating Mikkola to the title, he became the second Swedish world rally champion after Björn Waldegård. His first place in the Rallye Côte d'Ivoire would remain his career-last victory in the WRC. The 1985 season saw him finish runner-up to Timo Salonen of the new Peugeot Talbot Sport team headed by Jean Todt. His best result was second; at the Swedish Rally, the 1000 Lakes and the Acropolis Rally.[1] In the last Group B season in 1986, Blomqvist competed for Ford in an RS200 and for Peugeot in a 205 Turbo 16 E2, recording his only podium at the Rally Argentina.[1]

During the first two Group A years, Blomqvist continued with Ford and drove a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, finishing on the podium three times.[1] The 1990 WRC season was the series' first without Blomqvist in action. In 1991 and 1992, he drove a Nissan Sunny GTI-R for Nissan Motorsports Europe, Nissan's factory team. At the 1992 Swedish Rally, Blomqvist took third place, which would remain his last podium spot in the WRC.[1]

Later in the 1990s, he used his experience of two-wheel drive cars and helped Škoda Motorsport to develop the Škoda Felicia Kit Car. During a guest appearance at the 1996 RAC Rally, when the event was not on the WRC schedule, the 50-year-old veteran finished third overall with the car.[1] That same year, he finished seventh in the Safari Rally in a Ford Escort RS Cosworth. This would remain his last points-finish in the World Rally Championship.[1]

After only three events in four years, Blomqvist returned to the role of a regular WRC competitor. Together with co-driver Ana Goñi, he drove a Group N category David Sutton Cars Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6 in twelve events in 2001, finishing fifth overall in the Production World Rally Championship (PWRC).[1] In 2003, he finished third in the PWRC championship in a Subaru Impreza WRX STI.[1] In his last world rally, the 2006 Swedish Rally, Blomqvist drove the Impreza to 24th place overall and was fourth fastest in Group N.[2]

In September 2008, Blomqvist took part in the Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally, a round of the Scottish Rally Championship centred in Perth in Scotland. He was one of a number of ex-world champions to take part in the event in memory of McRae, who died in 2007. He was co-driven by Goñi in a Ford Escort RS1600.

According to a rumour, Blomqvist was intended as the first test driver for the 2002 relaunched version of the BBC series Top Gear, but when he declined the anonymous driver The Stig was created. Blomqvist has denied this story.

He has lived in the UK for many years, based in Saffron Walden, Essex. His son, Tom Blomqvist, has followed in his motorsports footsteps, becoming the youngest ever Formula Renault UK champion in 2010, at the age of 16.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Stig Blomqvist". RallyBase. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "55th Uddeholm Swedish Rally". RallyBase. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Åhman, Michael (2009-01-20). "Han är "The Stig"!". Auto, Motor & Sport. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Michèle Mouton
Autosport
International Rally Driver Award

1983
Succeeded by
Ari Vatanen
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Hannu Mikkola
World Rally Champion
1984
Succeeded by
Timo Salonen
Preceded by
Juha Kankkunen
Race of Champions
Champion of Champions

1989–1990
Succeeded by
Juha Kankkunen
Preceded by
Flavio Alonso
Race of Champions
Rally Master

1993
Succeeded by
Timo Salonen
Records
Preceded by
Jean-Claude Andruet
30 years, 169 days
(1973 Monte Carlo Rally)
Youngest Rally
Winner

26 years, 203 days
(1973 Swedish Rally)
Succeeded by
Markku Alén
24 years, 156 days
(1975 Rallye de Portugal)