The programme of the 38th Rallye Monte Carlo, 1969.
The Datsun Fairlady 2000 in the 1969 Rallye Monte Carlo
The low-screen 1967 Fairlady 2000s campaigned in the 1968 Monte were replaced by the later high-screen cars for the 1969 Monte. All Monte Fairladies were left hand drive (SRL311s) & were badged 'Datsun 2000'. All Monte drivers employed by Nissan, both in 1968 & 1969, were Finnish. Although sporting Japanese licence plates the Monte cars were registered in France.
THE 1969 CREWS PRIOR TO THE RALLY
The highly developed 1969 Monte Carlo Datsun Fairlady 2000s ran 170bhp, and sported strengthened hardtops which were riveted to the body. Autosport magazine described these cars as 'rather special'.
The works rally cars featured some interesting additions over the production Fairladies. All rally 2000s benefited from the Solex/Mikuni carb/cam set-up. The panels and chassis are said to have been lighter than the road cars (like the 'purple panel' cars used in road racing), being made of thinner gauge steel. Under the bonnet, the wiring loom was doubled up in case of electrical failure, with spare connections for the alternator/starter motor etc. The under bonnet inspection lamp, featured on production Silvias & the later 'Z' series, was riveted to the underside of the bonnet.
As in 1968, both Datsuns started the Rally at Monte Carlo, along with 42 of the other starters. The Monte starters all suffered the worst of the weather, with fog and rutted snow and ice, which did not suit the F/R setup of the Datsuns. The crew of Risto Virtapuro/Charles Lindholm also lost 22 minutes on the concentration run by following the Ballastrieri/Audetto Lancia Fulvia the wrong way in the fog. In contrast, starters from the other departure points all had better weather, which put the Monte starters at an immediate disadvantage.
Later in the Rally, the Raimo Kossila/Pertti Mannonen crew coincidentally crashed their Fairlady 2000 (No.79) in exactly the same spot as Lusenius had done in practice the previous year. The spot, at St. Auban, was nick-named 'Datsun Wall' following the Lusenius incident. Following their problems on the concentration run, Risto Virtapuro, with navigator Charles Lindholm, in car No.44, 'set about modifying his car at every corner until it resembled the training cars more closely' according to Autosport, reporting on the rally.
Neither car finished.
Both Kossila & Virtapuro had previously driven 'works' Volvos. Kossila's nickname was 'Instant Death' following his spirited drive of a Volvo in Finland. The British MotorSport magazine also labelled him the 'Fearsome Finn'.
Sadly, none of the Monte Cars from either Rally are believed to have survived.
Link to '68 Monte
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