So… After a while of debating and thinking what I would write in this post, arguably THE MOST IMPORTANT post to date on this blog, I have finally decided to share something with you all that very few people in the world actually know and acknowledge.
What I am talking about is the little known fact of my grandparents’ participation in the 1971 Monte Carlo Rally as part of the Datsun-Nissan works rally team. In 1971 Datsun-Nissan fielded three full FIA-spec 240Z rally cars. My grandparents were given a drive on the rally thanks to their victory in the International Total Rally of September 1970. Included in their prize was a sponsored entry into the 1971 Monte Carlo Rally courtesy of Total.
Due to his close ties with the Japanese manufacturer, my grandfather was given a RHD 240Z to use as part of the works team effort as the other two cars were both LHD models. Driving the other two works cars were Rauno Aaltonen/Paul Easter (SF/UK) in the No.62 car and Tony Fall/Mike Wood (UK/UK) in the No.70 car, both legends of their era.
Aaltonen went on to finish 5th overall with Fall, less experienced than Aaltonen on ice and snow, finishing a creditable 10th overall.
Due to an unfortunate blockage of the fuel lines to the carbs on their 240Z, my grandparents were forced to retire from the rally altogether in the closing stages.
It is a great pity that they were forced to retire but it goes to show that even with factory backing, things can and do go badly wrong in the world of professional rallying.
Well then, that brings to a close what is easily the most enjoyable post I have made to date. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together!
I hope that thanks to this post my grandparents can start receiving some of the recognition that they truly deserve as they were a fantastic and very successful team in their day, but not many people know that which saddens me a great deal.
Source: Jared van Bergen published in Dattosan Kureiji
Images by Jared.