The Group B rally cars continued to get faster, and although Mouton recorded good results in the Quattro A1 and A2, she suffered reliability problems: in the 1982 Safari Rally she finished the first stage on three wheels and in Finland she managed to extinguish her burning car (and carry on) by driving into a lake. She ended the 1983 season fifth in the Championship. The following year (1984) was no easier; she finished 12th in the title race, one point behind new Audi team leader Röhrl.
The 1985 season was even more disappointing, with Mouton focusing on testing and development and entering only one WRC event. However, she was on hand for Audi’s return to Pikes Peak, where this time she would drive solo in the Sport Quattro S1, a short-wheelbase, lightweight Group B machine with almost 450 horsepower, and by her own admission the most difficult car she had ever driven. The patriotic Hill Climb organisers weren’t about to make things any easier; Mouton was accused of speeding at 35-40mph in a restricted area and summoned to a tribunal, as she later recalled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed: “They told me I could have killed a child if he was crossing the road – all this big story about safety and everything. So I was asked not to start from the paddock, to be out of the car, to go to the starting line, to jump into the car and to go up the hill. And I said no way.
“So we called a big press conference and I said, you know, my safety is also important. So finally I was allowed to stay in the car, belted in, but not touching any gear, so the mechanics were pushing me to the line; it was like a big show, you know – a movie could not have been better. Of course they didn’t know me, because in my mind I said, ‘Instead of trying to slow me down it will just make me the opposite way.’ And I was really flat-out all the way, very motivated. I had a hard time near the top because there are three flat-out corners but the second one is not quite flat-out… I decided to stay flat-out and I was going to the side, you know, when you look at the drop on the right side, it’s really hairy down there. I had the hardest time in my life, but I managed to do it and I won the race. It was a great time and I was very happy.”