This year the Legend Boucles à Bastogne will have a bit of Russian flair added. Thanks to the team of Guy Moerenhout Racing and three raging LADA’s VFTS.
Regular CineCars visitors will know Guy Moerenhout and his Abarth Museum in the Belgian town of Lier from earlier publications. This Saturday the impressive collection of Fiat derived beauty acts as the background for the latest exploit by the men behind the Abarth Squadra Storica, the LADA Sport Historic Team. At first it sounds like a joke and maybe that is how it all started when former Belgian Prime Minister, member of the European Parliament and last but not least Abarth Squadra Storica team member Guy Verhofstadt got lost amongst the Soviet versions of the Fiat 124/125 in the far corner of the museum. Gossip wants that his colleague Mr. Putin might well be a little envious. We can’t say he’s wrong.
Like in the West people behind the iron curtain were quite aware of the racing potential of many of FIAT’s models. Polski FIAT as well as LADA know their fast versions, the LADA VFTS, built in Vilnius, Lithuania, being the crême de la crême. Three stages of development are discerned in the range built by the Vilniusskaja Fabrika Transportnych Sredstv, Russian for Vilnius Transport Means Factory. The 1978 LADA 1600Rally, a 1300 bored out to 1600cc sporting 130-150 hp, followed in 1982 by the LADA VFTS2, a LADA 2105 that manages 160 hp on a 920 kg kerb weight and the ultimate version, the LADA VFTS1, squeezing out 180 hp in a partly aluminium body weighing 100 kg less. Needless to say that the LADA Sport Historic Team will bring all three versions to the Legend Boucles à Bastogne!
Amidst the eminences grises of the Belgian motor sport journalists we enjoy the team presentation at the museum. The atmosphere is casual, jolly even, but the aspirations of the team are more than serious. The LADA’s are prepared meticulously for their entry in the Legend Boucles à Bastogne in the weekend of 2, 3 and 4 of February. Behind the wheel of the yellow 1600R we find Guy Verhofstadt accompanied by his navigator Guido Devreker, the VFTS2 is being driven by Eric Vlaislori, who as always will be shown the way by Jeroen Nys and finally we have the most impressive rally monster raced by the master himself, Guy Moerenhout and his trusty companion Filip de Munck. We can’t wait.
Beefy double Weber carburetors, secondary fuel pumps, air scoops, spoilers, widened wheel arches, everything about these LADA’s breaths lumpy velocity. These aren’t frightened commoners, these are angry bloated bullies from the wrong kind of gym. Don’t get me wrong, everything about these cars applies to FIA regulations, but I don’t doubt for a moment the boundaries of classic racing will be challenged. This is high level motorsport with classic rally monsters from an unexpected heritage. This is the LADA Sport Historic Team!
Marc GF Zaan