1957: Swedish Rally ace Mats Jonsson was born. He contested 40 World Rally championship events between 1979 and 2007, winning his home event twice – in 1992 and 1993 – in a Toyota Celica.
1985: Flying Finn Henri Toivonen and his British co-driver Neil Wilson gave Lancia’s fearsome Group B Delta S4 a debut win on the Lombard RAC Rally. The sister car of Markku Alén and Ilkka Kivimäki finished second for an historic Lancia one-two. Crowd favourite Tony Pond took the MG Metro 6R4, also making its first WRC appearance in the five-day, Nottingham-based event, to third.
1975: Double World Champion Graham Hill perished alongside his protégé Tony Brise in a light-aircraft crash in North London. Four members of Hill’s Embassy Hill Formula 1 team, Tony Alcock, Ray Brimble, Terry Richards and Andy Smallman, also died in the tragedy that occurred in thick fog as the team returned home from a test session in France.
1939: Legendary rally team manager Ninni Russo was born. The former co-driver oversaw Fiat’s successful campaign in the WRC between 1979 and 1981 with the 131 Abarth and then switched to Lancia. He guided the Martini-backed 037s, Group B Delta S4s and Group A Delta HF Turbos and Integrales to multiple rally wins from 1982 to ’92. After many years in rallying the Italian moved into touring car racing with Alfa Romeo, notably masterminding Gabriele Tarquini’s BTCC title win with the 155 in 1994.
1966: Finnish ace Mika Salo was born. He came to prominence in British Formula 3 in 1990, pushing eventual champion and fellow Finn Mika Häkkinen hard all season. He spent three years in Japan before making his F1 debut with Lotus in 1994. He contested 109 GPs in total, also racing for Tyrrell, Arrows, BAR, Ferrari, Sauber and Toyota. He came closest to winning in Germany in 1999, as a stand-in for the injured Michael Schumacher. Leading at Hockenheim, he was ordered to let team-mate Eddie Irvine past. After F1 he moved to GT racing, winning races for Ferrari and Maserati.