Rauno August Aaltonen (born 7 January 1938), also known as "The Rally Professor", is a Finnish former professional rally driver who competed in the World Rally Championship throughout the 1970s.


Before WRC was established Aaltonen competed in the European Rally Championship. He won the championship in 1965, with Tony Ambrose as his co-driver. He also won the Finnish Rally Championship in 1961 and 1965. In 1966, he partnered Bob Holden in Australia to win the premier touring car race, the Gallaher 500, in a Mini Cooper S at Mount Panorama in New South Wales.

Aaltonen finished second on six occasions in the Safari Rally, which is considered one of the most difficult courses in rallying. In 1985, he was leading the rally by two hours when his engine broke down before the last few special stages. His other merits include winning the 1000 Lakes Rally in 1961, the RAC Rally in 1965, the Monte Carlo Rally in 1967, the Southern Cross Rally in 1977, and a Coupe des Alpes at the Alpine Rally in 1963 and 1964.[1]

Despite now being remembered as one of the Flying Finns of rallying, Aaltonen started his career on speed boats and later moved on to motorcycles competing in road racing, speedway and motocross. Before he became the first Finnish European Rally Champion, he was the first Finn to win a Grand Prix motorcycle racing competition.

Aaltonen was a proponent of left-foot braking.[2] In 2010, he was among the first four inductees into the Rally Hall of Fame, along with Erik Carlsson, Paddy Hopkirk and Timo Mäkinen.[3]

Technique of rotating a car by 360 degrees, while maintaining trajectory, was named after him.

Career results

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
1964 United Kingdom Donald Healey Motor Company United Kingdom Clive Baker Austin-Healey Sebring Sprite P 1.5 256 DNF DNF

Complete Bathurst 500/1000 results

Year Team Co-drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
1966 Australia BMC Australia Australia Bob Holden Morris Cooper S C 130 1st 1st
1991 Australia Bob Holden Motors Australia Bob Holden
Australia Dennis Rogers
Toyota Corolla 3 124 20th 4th

Complete British Saloon Car Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap.)

Year Team Car Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Pos. Pts Class
1970 Ford Köln Ford Capri 2300 GT D BRH SNE THR SIL CRY SIL SIL



  1. ^ Pfundner, Martin (2005). Alpine Trials & Rallies: 1910 to 1973. Veloce Publishing Ltd. pp. 90–91.
  2. ^ "Driving Legends". theitalianjob.com. Retrieved 25 October 2009.
  3. ^ "New Inductees to Rally Hall of Fame". Neste Oil Rally Finland. 9 February 2011. Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  4. ^ de Jong, Frank. "British Saloon Car Championship". History of Touring Car Racing 1952-1993. Retrieved 12 October 2022.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by European Rally Champion
Succeeded by
Preceded by Winner of the Bathurst 500
(with Bob Holden)
Succeeded by