This topic is about the rise and fall of Group B rallying. This is NOT a copy/paste in anyway; I have researched the facts and figures to help educate people on what Group B rallying actually was and how everything changed.
Back in 1979 FISA (The current governing body) legalized all wheel drive, the current companies involved in rallying at the time thought that all wheel drive was overkill and that the extra components would be a concern for failure and that the systems needed would be too complex in design. Since FISA wasn’t starting a Group B until 1982, Audi decided that all wheel drive was the way to go so quickly set about building the Audi S1 Quattro.
The world of rallying changed when Hannu Mikkola used the S1 on a rally as a test, if he had of entered the rally he would have won by 9 minutes, proving that all wheel drive really was the way to go.
When group B was created there wasn’t allot manufacturers couldn’t enter so light weight space framed cars boasting over 500bhp and all wheel drive was expected in order to have a chance. Now, as Homologation rules state you must manufacture 200 of that type of car in order to be allowed entrance, soon enough every manufacturer wanted in so cars such as the Peugoet205 T16, Citroen BX TC-EVO, Lancia 037, Renault 5, Ford RS200 and Austin Metro 6R4 were created for entrance. The Rally going versions were uprated to the over 500bhp needed to stand a chance so the power increases came from anywhere possible.
Eyebrows were raised when people realized how dangerous this could potentially be so a comparison test was set at Estoril, the Portuguese Grand Prix circuit. A Delta S4 was used and driven by Henri Toivonen and it was capable of 0 - 62 (On Gravel) in 2.3seconds. Henri then drove the S4 around the Formula One track and its time was so impressive he would have come 6th in the Grand Prix. Nigel Martin (F1 driver) tested the Peugeot 205 T16 and admitted it would accelerate quicker than his F1 car could manage, and that Rally car drivers must have half the reaction time an F1 driver has due to not only the complexity of a rally stage but all the variances such as floor texture, weather conditions etc.
There were numerous deaths and near-fatalities such as Ari Vatanen in Peugeots 205 T16. The cars entered were constantly improving and Lancia decided to retire the 037 and used its new S4 as a replacement that was both turbo and supercharged. In 1986 at the Port Wine rally in Portugal a Ford RS200 got it wrong on the twisties and collided with a row of spectators killing three and injuring many. FISA's man concern was the F1 so little notice was taken about the condition of Group B rallying until Henri Toivonen driving the new S4 over ran a corner and slid down a verge and colliding with varies trees and rocks. Toivonen and his co-driver Sergio Cresto were killed and the car was engulfed in a frantic blaze with no witness's to the deaths.
Henri Toivonen's crash shook every team in Group B rally, and Ford and Audi refused to compete anymore, whilst the other teams finished the season before quitting. It was agreed that Group B rallying was too dangerous and was dissolved in 1986. No restrictions on power/weight/technology/materials and only 200 cars needed for production under homologation rules was too dangerous for motorsport. FISA tried a less intense version of Group B restricting a cars power output to 300bhp but allowed a homologation of only 10, allowing manufacturers to use innovative designs - Group S was canceled at the same time as Group B.