Just imagine what it would have looked like in full flight

As the Group B era of the World Rally Championship reached its height in the mid-1980s, several of the competing manufacturers started work on a new generation of cars that was even more extreme, dubbed Group S.

Audi was one of those manufacturers. Moving away entirely from the - loosely - production-based Sport Quattro, it devised a mid-engined car with a spaceframe chassis, plastic bodywork, and a 40-valve version of the Quattro’s five-cylinder engine.

The Group S category was all set to launch for the 1987 season, but a number of fatal crashes during ‘86 involving Group B cars led to both being shelved by the FIA.

Ever since then, the Audi Group S prototype has essentially been a museum piece. But last weekend, it was brought out of hibernation and run in public for the very first at the Eiffel Rallye Festival in Germany.

The Eiffel Rallye is one of the biggest events in historic rallying. Hundreds of incredibly diverse cars take part, many of them ex-factory machines, dating from the 1950's and 1960's, right through the more recent Group B, Group A, and WRC eras.

Looking a lot like a GTP race car, the Audi Group S proved to be one of the stars of the show. Despite the car being absolutely priceless and irreplaceable, the driver wasn’t afraid to mash the throttle a bit, as you can see in the footage above. And even though he's only pushing a little, it still looks quick. Just imagine what it would have been capable of in full flight.

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