In the late 1970s, Audi engineers started toying with the idea of pairing a turbocharged engine with the Volkswagen Group’s four-wheel-drive platform. The result, in 1980, was the Ur-Quattro (Ur being German for “original”), a car that would ultimately change Group B rally racing and, in time, the way sports cars were prepared.
Around this time, a young Group B fanatic named Manuel Leon Minassian was growing up in Beirut, Lebanon, where his heroes were rally drivers like Hannu Mikkola, Stig Blomqvist, and a tall Bavarian named Walter Röhrl. These men were among the first to race Audi Quattros to Group B glory shortly after regulations permitting all-wheel-drive were introduced in 1979, with Mikkola and Blomqvist taking drivers’ titles in 1983 and 1984 and Audi winning constructors’ titles in 1982 and 1984. For a kid like Minassian, these men were superheroes and the Quattro a supercar.
Not much has changed, except that Minassian now has an Ur-Quattro of his own, a car which began life as Vasek Polak’s car and which Minassian chased for many years before finally getting a chance to buy it. And there’s little chance of anyone prying it from his hands, not least because, to do so, they’d first have to catch him.