Video Documentary: Henri Toivonen – His Rally Days
Henri Toivonen was, without doubt, one of the fastest, most spectacular and most popular rally drivers of his generation. His tragic death, with co-driver Sergio Cresto, in 1986 was a devastating blow to the sport and Toivonen’s many fans.
This action-packed film, created by respected Italian motorsport documentary-maker Belle Epoque Film, is a fitting memorial to the Finn. It is loaded with exceptional footage of Toivonen blasting along special stages, power sliding around hairpins and demonstrating his sublime skill on snow, ice, mud, gravel and high-speed tarmac. Charting his career from 1977 to ’86, it features action from every year and more than 40 events, including classics like the RAC, 1000 Lakes and Monte-Carlo.
Although the footage from the early years is brief, it shows Toivonen’s development as a driver and emergence as a star of the future, as he graduates from the Chrysler Avenger to the Talbot Sunbeam, on to the Rothmans-backed Opels and Porsche and, finally, to the Martini Lancia team and the magnificent S4, one of the icons of the Group B era. Toivonen was an exceptional driving talent, taking his first World Rally win at just 24 to become the youngest-ever WRC winner – a remarkable record which would stand for almost 30 years.
This film features 60 minutes of Toivonen at his finest, displaying the skills which created a legend, and includes interviews which show the dedication, determination and humour that made him such a favourite with fans. The undoubted highlight of this film’s soundtrack is the evocative roaring of rally car engines at speed, not least the growling 550bhp of the S4 – the perfect tribute to a giant of the sport.