When Audi introduced all-wheel drive to the World Rally Championship, the sport would never be the same. Yet, after the Quattro’s introduction, the sport changed so drastically and so quickly that soon Audi’s own entrants were getting beat. To get back to the top of the World Rally Championship arms race, Audi introduced the WMD that is the Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2.
The Quattro S1 E2 was powered by a turbocharged 2.1-liter five-cylinder engine fitted with one of the world’s first anti-lag systems. Power was officially stated at 470 hp, but cars routinely made much more than 500 hp, and there are rumors that peg the Group B racer as having more than 700 hp.
With that kind of power at hand and the likes of Walter Röhrl, Michele Mouton, Stig Blomqvist, and Christian Geistdorfer behind the wheel, the car managed to snag second overall during the 1985 season and fourth overall in 1986. A year later, after the class was banned from WRC, Röhrl would take a slightly modified Sport Quattro S1 E2 to Pike’s Peak, winning the hillclimb outright.
This particular Sport Quattro S1 E2 is a replica painstakingly built to the exact specification of the Sport Quattro S1 E2 that won the Rallye Sanremo in 1985 with Röhrl behind the wheel. The decision to build a replica version of that specific Sport Quattro S1 E2 came after its owner, Volker Gehrt, met Roland Gumpert, the head of Audi Sport during the early days of all-wheel drive and a man that had more than a hand in the creation of the Quattro, including his 25 World Rally Championship wins and four World Rally Championship titles.
When Gehrt began talking about building the real thing, Gumpert was the man who advised him on where to source parts, how things went together, and every detail he could remember from the time to recreate the Sanremo Sport Quattro S1 E2. He even arranged a surprise meeting with the legendary Röhrl, whose signature remains on the car’s roof.
The result, well, it speaks for itself. Just listen to that turbocharged five-cylinder growl and tell us there was a better rally era.