Rally Sweden Historic

Rally Sweden brings together stars from the past and present

Rally Magazine

The somewhat unique Historic event, held in parallel, attracts just as much interest among nostalgic rally enthusiasts. For the 2024 edition, 26 teams will take part and compete for the title across six stages, divided into three each on Friday and Saturday.

Ahead of the third Historic edition in Umeå, we will once again become acquainted with old treasures that evoke memories aplenty. Perhaps the greatest interest is drawn to the anticipated battle between double Rally Sweden winner from 1992 and 1993, Mats Jonsson’s Toyota Celica GT-4, and Tobias Johansson’s Audi Urquattro A2.

The horns are still there

Mats Jonsson attempted the rally last year but had to retire on the second stage due to an engine failure. This year, he hopes the car holds up so he can finish the race. The old Celica still evokes fond memories for the Forshaga driver. A few golden years in the early ’90s are firmly etched in his memory bank.

“I got the chance to drive four-wheel drive with Toyota in 1990, and it is clearly associated with my heyday. In addition to the Rally Sweden victories and a second place in 1992, I also won four Swedish Rally Championship titles with the car. So, it means a lot to me,” reveals Mats Jonsson.

The competitive spirit remains.

“Once you sit in the car, the drive is just as strong; it’s still as fun to compete, and the allure is ultimately to win. Otherwise, I wouldn’t invest so much time and money in this,” he concludes.

Dusting off the iconic Quattro

Mats Jonsson’s main challenger will be Tobias Johansson, who will be teamed up with his old navigator Mikael Johansson again. The Ludvika duo has resurrected Erik “Eken” Johansson’s iconic Quattro from the depths and put it together for competition. The brand obliges, with greats like the 1983 and 1984 WRC champions Stig Blomqvist and Hannu Mikkola celebrating major triumphs with Audi during their time. Even the current safety chief of the WRC series, Michèle Mouton, the world’s most successful woman in rally racing, shone with the Audi Quattro in the ’80s.

“The car is actually in the exact same colours as Michèle had when she competed,” reveals Tobias Johansson, excitedly discussing the car and the unique opportunity the audience will experience when they hear the characteristic engine sound sweep through the forests around Västerbotten.

“I dare promise, and I’m completely convinced that my car will be the crowd favourite of the race. It’s a five-cylinder engine with almost 500 horsepower and tons of power. You’ll hear us coming from several kilometres away,” laughs the Ludvika driver.

The feeling and speed are there

The 2024 Historic event will be his first in Umeå. Despite a solid rally background as a factory driver for Ford, Subaru, and Nissan, the driving force remains nothing but standing atop the podium.

Unfortunately, I’m probably still too much of a competitor. First and foremost, I go there to win, but of course, also to relive old times and the fantastic atmosphere that I experienced during Rally Sweden when I was most active. Now, I haven’t competed in almost six years, but when I tested the car, it didn’t take many kilometres before the feeling and speed were there. It will be incredibly fun to compete again, he concludes.

Treasures for Enthusiasts

In the shadow of the giants, Rally Sweden also attracts motor enthusiasts to polish and tune up their old treasures, don racing overalls, and summon the competitive spirit once again. Among the car park entered for Historic, we also note that the 2022 winner in the form of Lycksele MK’s Christer Hedlund will start with his Ford Escort RS 1800. The keen-eyed will surely enjoy delightful memories of Björn Waldegård’s WRC exploits in the ’70s and ’80s.

Rally Sweden is unique in the WRC circuit for having a nostalgia event interspersed in the WRC schedule and on the same special stages as the top cars. It also presents an opportunity to experience the contrasts and witness the evolution that has occurred in rallying over the past decades and observe the difference in speeds between the various classes and cars. Don’t miss out!