Photos and story by Xavier Comella
My name is Xavier, I’m 26 years old and I live in a little town of Osona region called Torelló (near Barcelona) in Catalonia. Surely the fault of my motor passion is the place I live, because some years ago World Rally Championship was celebrated very close, on the mythical stages of La Trona, Coll de Bracons, La Costa dels Gats…
Motorsport runs through our family. My father is a great passionate man for rally. I have distant memories from when I was 3-years-old when he started to introduce me to the world of rally and racing. We always went to see motorsport events, most of them rallies where he had friends participating.
The story of the Volkswagen Golf Mk2
At this moment, I have two Volkswagen Golf Mk2s that I use to run rallies. My main rally car is a Golf Mk2 from 1988, an 8 valve, 112bhp that apes the Olivetti livery of the great Swedish rally driver Kenneth Eriksson, who won the 1987 WRC Rallye Côte d’Ivoire aboard a 16V Golf Mk2 GTI, and also the Group A World Rally Championship of 1986; by far is the biggest claim to fame the Golf Mk2 received in its entire lifetime.
The Volkswagen Golf Mk2 8V used to be my grandfather’s car. It was in fact the last car that he owned before he died. After his death, my elder cousin inherited the Golf Mk2 8V and used it for regular use for some years. When he decided to buy a new car, I decided to pick the aged Golf from him and restore it with the help of my father.
The Volkswagen Golf Mk2 8V is a fantastic car. A has a fantastically balanced chassis that holds the naturally-aspirated, but great engine that produces some fantastic smile-inducing acceleration as the whole car is pretty lightweight. As a homage my grandfather and his last car, we decided to convert the car into a machine that would qualify to run rallies here in Catalonia.
Its fascinating to own a car that has sporting pedigree. It was the Golf Mk1 that started it all when it gained 5th place at the 1980 Monte Carlo Rally in the hands of Per Eklund and co-driver Hans Sylvan. Success continued for the Mk1 Golf with a 4th place at the Hunsrück Rally, followed by a third place at the Sachs Winter Rally of 1981 with Alfons Stock and Paul Schmuck. That same year, the Mk1 Golf GTI 16V won the German Rally Championship too.
By the time the Mk2 Golf was introduced, the marque was already a known entity in the rally world. In 1986, the Mk2 Golf GTI won the Group A World Rally Championship with Kenneth Eriksson and Peter Deikmann. So there was no second thought that our tribute replica Mk2 Golf had to have the Olivetti livery of Eriksson’s WRC winning car.
With the Volkswagen Golf Mk1, I have participated in several rallies and hills climbs around my home in Catalonia, something I had always dreamed to do when I was growing up. I have participated in famous Catalan rallies like the Rally Osona and the Rally Costa Daurada Legend on regularity. When there are no races, me and my father attend classic car meets near our hometown in the Golf Mk2.
The Second Volkswagen Golf Mk2
After two years of starting with rallies in the Mk2 Golf 8V, I though of upgrading to something that would be much faster and much safer. This is when I bought my second Golf, a 136hp Mk2 16V. This car is more powerful than the 8V, of course and can run with much better handling dynamics. As was the case with the Golf Mk2 8V, we found our favourite livery from the past history of the 16V, which turned out to be a certain “Marlboro” decoration that was used in past rallies for the Golf Mk1. My father-in-law helped me painting the car with vinyl spray at home.
As of now, we have only participated in the Andorra Winter Rally that took place in December last year. This is a rally that takes place in the cold winter months where drivers have to pilot over a rally course through ice and snow. The Andorra Winter Rally has huge significance as most of the famous driers use this rally to train for the upcoming Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique that takes place in the month of January.
I am going to prepare my car for speed rallies next. That means including a roll cage, brackets, a fire extinguisher system, along with the necessities to comply with classic rally standards.
I wish to do more and more rallies, but the economics of motorsport isn’t an easy one. It’s expensive and difficult to find sponsors, but still the next time you see me, I would be battling the terrain against the clock at the Rally Costa Brava… and then hopefully some more.
Till next time enjoy the photos of my cars, and I hope to write more again about my next rally adventures. – XEVI