Most Jalopnik readers are probably familiar with Group B, the 1980s rally class full of big wings, big fenders, and big turbos. But before the class’s demise in 1986, it very nearly spawned an even wilder successor: Group S.
Group S was so close to becoming FIA reality that manufacturers actually built wild race prototypes, uninhibited by Group B’s 200-car homologation rules. Lancia had the ECV, Toyota made the 222D, and Audi built the mid-engined RS 002.
That is, they built one RS 002. Out of three initial prototypes, only one was ever fully completed and roadworthy. That’s the one that Ken Block just drove.
We talked about Kenny from the Block’s new deal with Audi back when it was announced, but now we’re starting to see the first bits of content from that partnership make their way to YouTube. He’s already driven the e-tron GT, but today’s video went back to Block’s rally roots for some Quattro-powered slides.
Block was given the keys to two Audi rally legends: The Sport Quattro S1 and the RS 002. The Sport Quattro may not have been in fighting trim, with its Pikes Peak record-setting 598 horsepower detuned to 300 for “longevity”, but that didn’t stop Block from getting it sideways.
The Sport Quattro S1 (with Walter Röhrl’s name still printed on the side) may have Audi’s rally heritage behind it, but the RS 002 was the company’s rally future — for a brief period. It used the 5-cylinder turbo engine from the S1, but shifted the block behind the driver for improved balance. With Group S abandoned before competition, the RS002 prototype languished in garages and (later) museums, undriven.
According to Timo Witt, Block’s guide through Audi Tradition, Ken is only the sixth person ever to sit behind the wheel of the single working RS002.