At the end of 1981 Lancia introduced the Rally, the first rally car fully designed around the new Group B ruleset. Simplicity in every detail, the use of existing parts and a short development phase were the goals which Sergio Limone, the project leader at Abarth, had set for himself. Conceived as an interim solution, the Lancia Rally used its window of opportunity and, in 1983, became the last rear-wheel-drive car to win the World Rally Championship.
It was a time when cars from the Fiat Group simultaneously dominated in Formula 1, the World Championship for Makes and the World Rally Championship. In 1975 to 1977 and 1979 Ferrari won four constructors’ titles in F1, Lancia won the sports car world title with the Group 5 Montecarlo Turbo in 1980 and 1981, and in rallying success had started with Lancia in 1974 with three consecutive World Championships with the Stratos, before another three titles in 1977, 1978 and 1980 with the Fiat 131 Abarth.
Around this time there were developments emerging on the rallying scene that would drastically change the sport. Until the early 1970s rally cars were still very similar to their road-going counterparts. They were powered by tuned production engines, through the rear wheels only. The drivers used their right foot to steer the car more than the actual steering wheel. Corners were typically attacked at a high drift angle.
The Stratos, launched at the Turin Salon in November 1971, was the first purpose-built rally car. The road-going version was built purely to meet homologation targets. From ’74 onwards the car showed what was possible with a proper rally car. But still, there was never a successor to the Stratos. When its time was over, tuned versions of mass-produced road cars like the Ford Escort and the 131 Abarth took control again…
In Issue #21 you will find:
Lancia Rally 1982–1986
Interim solution – Conception and development of the Lancia Rally
Opportunity seized – The 1983 World Championship
Rearguard action – Until the arrival of the Delta S4
First love – Interview with designer Sergio Limone
Publishing house: Sportfahrer
Format: 210 x 297 Millimeter