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    Andersson, Ove
      Ove's WRC starts
    Ashcroft, Peter
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  Home > People > Team managers > Andersson, Ove
Ove Andersson
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One of the really great men of rallying, Ove Andersson was not only a talented driver but he also founded the Toyota Team Europe, guiding it to great success before Toyota decided to cease their rallying activities.

Despite following in the footsteps of legendary Erik Carlsson, Ove admits in an 1980 interview that perhaps biggest hero for him was Carl-Magnus Skogh. Like many, if not all, great Swedish rally drivers also Ove had an early relationship with Saab. In 1964 he contested Acropolis Rally as his first foreign event, driving a Saab on loan from works team in Trollhattan and paid almost all expenses together with his co-driver. From there, he gradually progressed towards the role of a paid driver in full works team through drives with Lancia and Ford until big break came in form of Renault-Alpine. His first drive for them was in 1970 RAC and next year he won Monte Carlo, Italia, Austrian Alpine and Acropolis for them. Ove's success led to some politics within the team as Renault-Alpine had recently fired Jean Vinatier to reduced the size of the team and hiring a non-French was viewed undesirable by some. Due to this, team painted his cars in different livery and used registration plates of Paris instead of Dieppe in order to pass-off him as a privateer.

In official WRC records, Renault-Alpine appears only once for Ove as his last event for them was the 1973 Monte Carlo. From there, and in fact already a little before that, Ove's career takes an interesting turn. He had been offered a drive in un-developed Toyota Celica for 1972 RAC which he had accepted as there was no programme from Renault-Alpine for that event. More outings with Toyota were promised and planned, including that 1973 Monte Carlo which he ended up driving with Renault-Alpine. As became apparent during that and following years, Toyota promised more than they could deliver, so Andersson continued to drive for various makes. And good that he did because his only win of WRC times came from his third and final outing with Peugeot in Safari Rally in 1975. That win is especially interesting as by that time co-operation with Toyota was already in full swing and his driving for other make was not viewed very favorably. Also, time was scarce and he did not do recce at all, instead his co-driver Arne Hertz did it by himself. Despite this obvious handicap, they won!

As has been already said, the start with Toyota was both promising and disappointing. First of all, competition and motor-sport were a little strange concepts for Japanese. On top of that, the oil crisis hit at the worst possible moment in 1973 and in it's wake left not only World Rally Championship crippled but also seriously affected world's car manufacturers and importers. But slowly and largely thanks to Ove's own persistence the Toyota operation slowly took off and after that, the story of Ove Andersson is very much tied to that of Toyota Team Europe.

During early years of the TTE, Andersson continued to drive himself on occasion until he hung up the helmet for good in 1980. He did, however, enter the 1982 Ivory Coast with a purpose of driving only the first leg and withdrew after that. As the team grew and it's operations expanded, Ove spent more and more time on team management so putting an end to his own involvement as a driver was a sensible - if not an easy - decision. As a team manager, Andersson saw TTE grow up from a very small team of early 1970's to a medium-sized operation doing selected rallies by mid-1980's and by the end of the decade making the leap to four-wheel drive cars and head-to-head battles with other top teams. After the years of success came the turbo scandal in 1995 and forced absence for the following season. One can only imagine how difficult it must have been for Ove to explain that loss of face to the Japanese (of all nationalities) and the fact that TTE did make a comeback for 1997 is a personal triumph of his.

Unfortunately for the WRC, the comeback lasted only until the end of 1999 when Toyota decided "to change the focus of their activities", as Ove put it at the time. TTE continued to support privateers using their cars for many years to come but Ove Andersson switched from rally stages to a paddock at GP circuit. Toyota did not find the immediate success in F1 and while operation there grew, Ove's role seemed to diminish. TTE became Toyota Motorsport GmbH and Ove retired to a role of a consultant until retiring for good in 2007.

11th of June 2008 Ove Andersson was killed in a head-on crash while competing in Milligan Vintage Trial, a historic car rally in South-Africa.

Statistics
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WRC starts:28
first: Monte Carlo 1973
latest: Ivory Coast 1982
Resultswins:1 (3.6% of starts)
second places: 2 
third places: 4  
total podiums: 7 (25.0% of starts)
points finishes: 4  
total points scored: 32  (drivers' championship points)
DNF's: 13 (46.4% of starts)
Stage wins: 29 
Milestones
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First WRC event: 1973 Monte Carlo
First DNF: 1973 Sweden
First scored point: 1979 Portugal (3rd)
First stage win: 1973 Monte Carlo
First time led rally: 1973 Monte Carlo (SS15)
First podium: 1973 Monte Carlo
First win: 1975 Safari
Career summary
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  Team  StartsWinsPodiumsDNF'sPointsRank
 1973  Private,
 Toyota
7 0 2 3 N/A N/A 
 1974  Private3 0 0 2 N/A N/A 
 1975  Private4 1 2 2 N/A N/A 
 1976  Private3 0 1 1 N/A N/A 
 1977  Private2 0 1 1 N/A N/A 
 1978  Private2 0 0 1 N/A N/A 
 1979  Private3 0 1 1 20 11th 
 1980  Private3 0 0 1 12 24th 
 1982  Private1 0 0 1 0  -   
Ove Andersson
Ove Andersson
Nationality: Sweden
Birthday: 03-Jan-1938
Died: 11-Jun-2008

Ove Andersson
(Click picture to see larger version in a pop-up window)
In TTe's early years Ove (standing on right in white jacket) also acted as a driver for the team, being a talented driver himself. This is RAC 1976 (note: co-driver in the car is Martin Holmes). Click picture to see larger version in a pop-up window
Related links
Toyota Team Europe (TTE)
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