Regarded as the toughest event on the rallying circuit, the Monte
Carlo Rally has held a special place in motorsport lovers' hearts
since its inception in 1911.
The year 1964 went down
in the books as a particularly memorable year. Starting at
Minsk - one of the nine different starting points in the rally that
year - Paddy Hopkirk and his co-driver Henry Liddon powered to
victory in a Mini Cooper S, to the astonishment of the rest of the
field and the racing fraternity.
This initial Mini
victory was repeated in the following year and in 1967, but it's the
first victory that sticks in the mind.
The best way for the
Mini to prove that the initial Monte victory was no flash in the pan
was...to win it again the following year.
The 1965 Monte Carlo
Rally saw six Mini Cooper S on the starting line. Despite
arduous conditions that put paid to many of their competitors, Timo
Makinen and Paul Easter took the outright title, with Paddy Hopkirk
and Henry Liddon in 26th and Don and Erle Morley in 27th position.
The success story
continued even further. In the 1967 rally, Rauno Aaltonen and
Liddon made it a hat trick of victories for the Mini team. But
for some dubious decisions the previous year, it would have been
four out of four. In 1966, the Mini team took first, second
and third, only for all cars to be disqualified for apparent
breaches of headlamp regulations.