.:: 1985: The end of Group B ::.

1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985

1986 represents, for the history of rally, a meaningful date indeed. With the end of the season, in fact, the chapter regarding the cars of group B is definitely closed, wanted firmly from the FISA, International Federation of the auto-racing, after the facts happened during the Championship. The Rally Championship 1987, therefore will be disputed with cars of group A, cars derived by the series production, therefore less powerful and performing but decidedly safer. But how they reached this drastic decision? The answer, although simple, derives from a series of difficult decisions, coming from the good sense and from the respect for life. The death of ATTILIO BETTEGA, during the TOUR de CORSE in 1985 left an indelible sign, not only in the heart of impassioned but above all among the rally-men. The incessant technological development of the group B cars was reaching values near to those of the Formula 1, both about costs and about performances. The cars, true monsters with four wheels drive, in some situations resulted uncontrollable, jeopardizing the life of drivers and spectators. It was necessary, therefore, to put a brake to this escalation to avoid irreparable damages; so they decided to say stop.
The World Championship, after the victory of the LANCIA DELTA S4, at the debut in ENGLAND, preannounced incandescent with the PEUGEOT ready to fight with a super evolved 205T16 and with the AUDI that, with the QUATTRO SPORT S2, could say to have the most powerful car ever built for the rallies: 600 Bhp. The MONTECARLO RALLY, always the opening competition for the World Championship, starts well for the TEAM MARTINI RACING. In a rally with few snow but with an equally insidious ground, it is the couple TOIVONEN-CRESTO to impose its law confirming that the binomial LANCIA-PIRELLI, under extreme conditions, it is really winning. The PEUGEOT, decidedly defeated, will have to be satisfied with a second place end, that is however good, because both ALEN (breakup of the engine) and BIASION (accident out of a special stage) retired after having constantly been at the top of the race. On the lowest step of the podium we finally find, despite of a competition without praise, the Finnish MIKKOLA and the AUDI for a season that will be stingy of satisfactions for the team of INGOLSTADT.

The PEUGEOT with KANKKUNEN will take a revenge in the following competition, the RALLY of SWEDEN, won after the withdrawals of the team-mate SALONEN, out on the sixth stage with the break of the oil pump, and of the fellow countrymen TOIVONEN, K.O. of the engine, and with a MARRKU ALEN lingered by thousand problems to the volumetric compressor of the LANCIA DELTA S4. For the two contender teams, by now, it is absolute parity in the general classification.
The RALLY of PORTUGAL, next competition, could have been to be for the LANCIA and for the PEUGEOT the occasion of revenge, but a very serious fact changed the future of the race and, as already told, of the specialty. During the carrying out of the first stage, the LAGOA AZUL, the Ford RS200 of JOAQUIM SANTOS, experienced and prepared Portuguese driver, goes out of street between two wings of crowd overwhelming a certain number of spectators. The budget is terrible: three corpses and over thirty wounded, some of them under serious conditions. The TOP drivers, almost frightened by the tragedy and by the terror to cause others, in the extreme difficulty to contain the over 500 bhp of their cars among the people, decided to stop the competition and refused to continue. This episode will remain forever in the history of the rallies.
After the terrible shock, the circus starts again. But there is not even the time to recover, in a RALLY SAFARI won by the TOYOTA with the LANCIA (again wiht the old 037) and the PEUGEOT respectively third with ALEN and fifth with KKK, that here is to reappear the tragedy. In the RALLY of CORSE, difficult competition, perhaps too much difficult for cars with more than 500 Bhp., another champion after ATTILIO BETTEGA tragically disappears. HENRY TOIVONEN with the co-driver SERGIO CRESTO were at the first place of the rally, in a competition that they probably would have won, when (for circumstances still today to establish) they went out of street against some trees. In the fire of their LANCIA DELTS S4 they will lose their lifes, leaving an enormous void and thousand questions about the future of the rallies. The catastrophe of the TOUR de CORSE, will start a lot of polemics that induce the FISA to cancel the group B and the dawning group S, successor of the first one, that would have had to count more powerful and sophisticated cars.
The PEUGEOT will line up against these decisions, as they couldn't count on a competitive car in the group A, but the verdict will be unique and unquestionable. The championship, orphan of a protagonist, will continue with the alternating of some victories among the PEUGEOT, victorious in GREECE and NEW ZEALAND with KANKKUNEN, over that in FINLAND and ENGLAND with SALONEN, and the LANCIA, first in Argentinian with the fantastic MIKY BIASION and in America, in the RALLY OLYMPUS with MARRKU ALEN for the final flight for the Drivers Wolrd title, first conquered by the strong Finn and then assigned to KANKKUNEN, after the facts happened in the SAN REMO RALLY. The Italian competition, in fact, will be remembered besides that for the three victories of LANCIA with ALEN, BIASION and CERRATO, authors of a perfect race, also for the disqualification of the PEUGEOT due to have adopted on their cars not regular aerodynamic appendixes. The bitter decision of the FISA when the championship was finished, unbelievable and at the same time bungling, to annul the Italian competition after the economic sacrifices of the teams and depriving ALEN of the satisfaction of the World title conquered on the field, will stay forever indelible, above all for the strong Finnish driver, that anymore will be able to conquer the World title, despite of the consideration to be one among the strongest drivers of every time.
1986, and with it the adventure of the groups B, finishes in this way among bitterness and poisons for the disappearance of three champions and for a title decided by the FISA, leaving anyway a great memory in the heart of the impassioned. The season 1987 will start with the MONTECARLO RALLY and with a wonderful victory of MIKY BIASION and the LANCIA DELTA 4WD group A. An unbelievable cycle of successes will start and will bring the Italian driver to the conquest of two World Championships and the Turinese car, in the different evolutions, on the roof of the World for 6 consecutive times, practically winning all and entering so from the main door in the legend of the rallies.
Click on the name of each driver to have his image.

1st Juha Kankkunen (FIN) Peugeot Sport 118
2nd Markku Alen (FIN) Lancia Martini 104
3rd Timo Salonen (FIN) Peugeot Sport 63
4th Bijorn Waldegaard (SVE) Team Toyota 48
5th Miki Biasion (ITA) Lancia Martini 47
6th Lars-Eric Torph (SVE) Team Toyota 40
7th Bruno Saby (FRA) Peugeot Sport 38
8th Kenneth Eriksson (SVE) VW Motorsport 28
9th Mikael Ericsson (SVE) Lancia Martini 28
10th Kalle Grundel (GER) Team Ford 26

1st Peugeot 137
2nd Lancia 122
3rd Volkswagen 65
4th Audi 29
5th Ford 24
6th Toyota 20
7th Renault 14
8th Rover 14
9th Subaru 13
10th Citroen 10
World Rally Championship
The race of change
Photo M&R - 1986

1st Fabrizio Tabaton (ITA) Lancia Delta S4 465
2nd Patrick Snijers (BEL) Lancia Rally 037 385
3rd Francois Chatriot (FRA) Renault 5 Maxi Turbo 265
4th Attila Ferjancz (HUN) Audi Quattro 252
5th Beny Fernandez (SPA) Opel Manta 400 229
6th Dario Cerrato (ITA) Lancia Delta S4 228
7th Andrea Zanussi (ITA) Peugeot 205T16 221
8th Mauro Pregliasco(ITA) Lancia Rally 037 185
9th Robert Droogmans (BEL) Ford RS200 180
10th Carlos Sainz (SPA) Renault Maxi Turbo 175

1st Cerrato-Cerri Lancia Delta S4 Jolly Club
2nd Zanussi-Amati Peugeot 205T16 Peugeot Sport
3rd Bossini-Pasotti Lancia Rally 037 Brixia Motorsport

1st Bossini-Pasotti Lancia Rally 037 140
2nd Bertone-Ardizzoia Lancia Rally 037 124
3rd Lenci-Farnocchia Renault R5 GT 109

1st Trombi-Trombi Lancia Rally 037 135
2nd Runfola-Poli Lancia Rally 037 120
3rd Ciraci-Lerva Opel Kadett GSI 106

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