The idea for a high-performance four-wheel-drive car was proposed by Audi's chassis engineer, Jörg Bensinger, in 1977, when he found that the Volkswagen Iltis could outperform any other vehicle in snow, no matter how powerful. Bensinger's idea was to start developing an Audi 80 variant in co-operation with Walter Treser, Director of Pre-Development

 


Audi Sport quattro concept at the IAA 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany

The original Audi Quattro competition car debuted in 1980, first as a development car, and then on a formal basis in the 1980 Janner Rally in Austria. Largely based on the bodyshell of the road-going Quattro models (in contrast to the forthcoming Group B cars), the engine of the original competition version produced approximately 300 bhp (224 kW; 304 PS). In 1981, Michèle Mouton became the first female driver to win a world championship rally, piloting an Audi Quattro.[1] Over the next three years, Audi would introduce the A1 and A2 evolutions of the Quattro in response to the new Group B rules, raising power from the turbocharged inline 5-cylinder engine to around 350 bhp (261 kW; 355 PS).


The Quattro A1 debuted at the WRC 1983 season opener Monte Carlo Rally, and went on to win the Swedish Rally and the Rally Portugal in the hands of Hannu Mikkola. Driven by Stig Blomqvist, Mikkola and Walter Röhrl, the A2 evolution won a total of eight world rallies; three in 1983 and five in 1984. Two examples of the same car completely dominated the South African National Rally Championships during 1984 to 1988, with S.A. champion drivers Sarel van der Merwe and Geoff Mortimer at the helm of the 4WD turbo monsters.


A 1988 Audi ur-quattro driven by Audi Tradition driver Luciano Viaro won the 13th Silvretta Classic Montafon

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