Almost 4 years we met the Rallye Saab R900 for the first time in a garage in Upper Franconia. Its then owner was looking for a buyer. The condition of the Group A sports car was deplorable and our hope was that it would eventually return to the track.
This hope has now been fulfilled. Last year, the R900 was in motorsport with Jürgen Grobusch and his new co-driver J. Blum. The season started in March with snow and ice and with participation in the Kempenich Rally. The team and the Saab R900 did well; Snow and ice are the domains of Swedish cars. The commitment was rewarded and 6 demanding special stages later the team won the class.
What started well could have continued successfully. A month later, Jürgen Grobusch and J. Blum joined the Rally Westerwald on. After 5 evaluation stages, the Saab was leading in its class, and with the last stage, class victory would have been certain. But the drive shaft broke in a right-hand bend and the event was over for the fast Swede.
A limited slip differential interrupts the season
When the drive unit and gearbox were subsequently dismantled, the actual cause of the problem was found to be the limited-slip differential. All gears of ZF Differentials were broken and a transmission specialist consulted classified the differential as undersized. The switch to a larger dimensioned lock failed due to the lack of compatibility with the Saab gearbox, an individual solution had to be found.
With some financial commitment, a new, more robust differential lock was custom-made for the Saab R900. And the effort seems to have paid off!
Exactly four days before the start of the Cologne - Ahrweiler Rallye 2016, the team was ready for the new assignment. The gearbox and the new differential were installed and without a test drive we went to the rally center in Mayschoss and started. November brought harsh weather conditions; on the first day there was an uncomfortable mix of sleet and fog. The fog in particular bothered the participants, said Jürgen Grobusch, and the team took it slowly and carefully. Because you didn't want to drive the R900 into a ditch on the first day.
A historic victory for the Saab Rally
On Sunday, with the most beautiful sunshine, the track was still wet and extremely slippery. The team had big traction problems, and the choice of tires wasn't particularly good. And yet, triumph was within reach. Because after 13 special stages, the Grobusch / Blum team in the Saab R900 drove over the ramp in Mayschoss as class winners of group A in the CTC and CGT vehicles.
It was the first ever Saab victory at the 1971 rally.
The summary of the season 2016: Everything was done right!