Rauno Aaltonen turned 80 years of age. I was always aware of his rally achievements, but was not aware that he was a man of many talents.
He started his motor sport involvement in speed boats. He was the Finnish Champion 7 times and once the Northern European Champion.
He also raced motorcycles in speedway, road racing and motorcross. He was the first Finn to win a Grand Prix motor Cycle race.
In rallying his achievements included the European Rally Championship 1965, Finish Rally Champion in 1961 and 65, 1000 Lakes in 1961, RAC Rally in 1965, Monte Carlo in 1967, Southern Cross Rally in 1977 and a Coupe des Alpes at the Alpine Rally in 1963 and 64.
He competed in the Safari Rally 23 times, finishing 2nd on 6 occasions. In 1985 he was leading the rally by two hours when his engine failed towards the end of the rally.
He was an early exponent of the left foot braking.
On tarmac he partnered and won with Bob Holden at Mt Panarama (1965) in a Mini Cooper S, which was Gallaher 500 at the time.
In the 1970's he set up his own driver training school and estimates he has helped to improve the driving skills of some 20,000 people. During 1970's he also helped BMW to develop their driver training methods and received an award from German Government in recognition for his contribution to road safety.
He was nicknamed the Rally Professor.
In 2010 he was among the first four drivers to be inducted to the to the Rally Hall of Fame with Erik Carlsson, Paddy Hopkirk and Timo Makinen .