ARA's Group B throwback
The American Rally Association presented by DirtFish is fortunate to have a large variety of vehicles competing across its over 15 events every year. V8 powered everything from Chevy Sonics to RX-7s. Larger than life personalities in WRC cars. Six-cylinder Imprezas. Classic muscle cars. Pick-up trucks. Anything you could imagine.
However, when lined up at parc expose, you’d be hard pressed to find anything catchning more people’s eye than Viktor Bartosek’s Audi Sport Quattro.
Bartosek, a Czech Republic native now living in Washington state, has spent the past two years building a US stage ready Sport Quattro in the evenings after his day job running an auto dealership.
“The body, the chassis, is exactly in the measurements of what it's supposed to be, but the interior, by my decision, I did the interior a different way, how I wanted it,” Bartosek explained to DirtFish.
“The body is original, it came from two different cars, the front is different, the rear is different, that's how they build those Sport Quattros so I did exactly the same as they did back there.”
Let’s back up though, obviously a huge amount of passion is what leads someone to take on this project, but where did that passion come from?
“How did I get into rally? Well I was born in the Czech Republic, in Europe, and actually I was spectating rally since I was 10 years old because there was European championship rallying right around my house back there, so I was always hanging in the trees and watching the rally drivers from the top of the roof," Bartosek said.
“It was in the '80s. European drivers from Italy, Austria, Germany, Hungary, it was an all European championship, it was a long time ago. I remember the Renault 5 Turbo, and different cars is what I was watching back then.”
With these core memories in place, it was only a matter of time before Bartosek took to rallying himself. After moving to America he started out spectating the SCCA rallies before volunteering, running course vehicles, and then by 2003, building his very own stage rally car.
“First I got the Audi UR Quattro which was a 1983 UR Quattro, and I was running it for I think 14 years.”
Unfortunately, as often happens in grassroots rally, the race car had to take a backseat to work for a while as Bartosek focused on his career.
“I've been self-employed for many years, and you have to do what you have to do many times. So sometimes you have to put your hobby on the side and focus on business and stuff,” he said.
Thankfully, 2022 marks the return of Bartosek to the PNW stages, and with a new ride to boot.
“After [the UR Quattro], because I had many spare parts for the Audi, I decided to build a Sport Quattro because I always liked the short body, without those wings, just the basic one, and that's what I decided to do, so, I started to build it.
“Time-wise, I cannot tell because it was many, many hours and I did most of the work by myself, just the roll cage was done by Dave Clark Motorsport, and my electronics was done by Russel Drake from Sound German Auto Repair, so those two people helped me a lot, but all of us have many hours in the car.”
Bartosek is entering the Dodging Dysentery Super Regional rally that runs alongside the Oregon Trail Rally this weekend after he debuted the Group B-inspired machine last time out at the Olympus Regional Rally.
At Olympus, the car had an issue with the handbrake sticking, causing the rear brakes to be destroyed, and eventually the clutch to burn. Since then its been treated to new brakes, a new transmission, and a new clutch to get ready for Oregon.
While a last time out retirement was disappointing, the Quattro is one of the most popular cars anywhere it goes, and Bartosek is just happy to share it with people.
“I hope everybody who knows the car, or drove the car, can appreciate the car because you don't see them very often, and that’s why I decided to build it, because it's something different. It's old, but with my very good experience watching Group B on the TV and everything, I always loved it!
“I'm driving around, and you know I'm glad I got the car because I want other people to see, or because many people they remember just from the internet, or from the games, they've never seen the car in the real life. So that makes many people happy because I know they will remember forever like I remember forever the Renault 5 Turbo and those kinds of cars.”
While running in the PNW is great for Bartosek and having such great memories of European rallying, and Group B monsters, you might expect Bartosek to dream of running Monte Carlo, Portugal and other historic WRC rounds.
But when asked what his dream rally is, Bartosek had this to say.
“I would want to run Rally México because I went there a couple times to spectate, and those roads are very nice roads. They remind me of Eastern Washington, and I wish to be there, a very nice gravel rally.”
While not the same, hopefully the roads of Dufur, Oregon and Goldendale, Washington can be close enough for Bartosek this weekend.