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#139601 - 16th Oct 2006 12:47am Group B rally: Birth to Death *****
Dazza Offline
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Registered: 10th Nov 2003
Posts: 2899
Loc: Birkenhead
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.


Edited by Dazza (16th Oct 2006 2:13am)
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#139603 - 16th Oct 2006 2:15am Re: Group B rally: Birth to Death [Re: Dazza]
Mark Online   Reading


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Registered: 9th Nov 2003
Posts: 21027
Loc: Wirral
Quality dazza, intresting happy

Enjoyed the info smile
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#139608 - 16th Oct 2006 8:25am Re: Group B rally: Birth to Death [Re: Mark]
StuyMac Online   content

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Registered: 24th Nov 2003
Posts: 12002
Loc: Wirralshire
Ive got about 5 DVDs with the inclusion of the Group "B" era, and the cars certainly where stunning omg

Although Group B Cars where banned in Rallying, they where modified for other events like the Paris Dakar, and various rally Raids, this is what Ari Vatanen started back with after his near death crash in the T16.

Ari also raced a T16 version of the 405 up the famous Pikes Peak hill climb, Im pretty sure his record from the 80's also still stands omg
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#139616 - 16th Oct 2006 10:48am Re: Group B rally: Birth to Death [Re: StuyMac]
Scooby Offline
Forum Veteran

Registered: 9th Nov 2003
Posts: 5327
Loc: Birkenhead, Wirral.
What a brilliant topic buddy happy

I used to go and watch Group B Rallies as a youngster in Kielder forest in northumberland and it was so very very impressive.

The Metro 6R4 was the one car that sticks in my mind, simply awesome.....

Walking through miles and miles of boggy, snowy forests at 4 am in the morning to catch a glimpse of these awesome power machines, The good old days... What ever happened to them ???


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#139646 - 16th Oct 2006 7:11pm Re: Group B rally: Birth to Death [Re: Scooby]
jimbo4x4 Offline
Forum Master

Registered: 3rd Mar 2004
Posts: 2912
Loc: Bebington
Jay, you make me want to have been around at those times. To think my dad nearly bought a 405 T16, I can't believe he passed it up smack

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#139679 - 16th Oct 2006 11:02pm Re: Group B rally: Birth to Death [Re: jimbo4x4]
spinking Offline
Forum Veteran

Registered: 11th May 2004
Posts: 5093
Loc: Happy Home
Great topic Dazza thumbsup

I remember the rs200 most seen acouple of them at shows and 1 at santa pod which was VERYQUICK.

I have been out (as a passenger) in a 6r4 and it was a ride i will never forget carnt belive how fast it was.

Its a shame in many was they were banned but the speeds some of the cars were doing was stupid.

Chris bmw m3 has just done a trackday at Elvington and a Audi S1 Quattro was there he said nothing got near it straights corners even from standing start and the where some quick cars there.



Edited by tupac (16th Oct 2006 11:04pm)
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#139722 - 17th Oct 2006 11:11am Re: Group B rally: Birth to Death [Re: Dazza]
MGCraig Offline
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Registered: 16th Apr 2006
Posts: 5488
Loc: Spital
I love Group B beyond belief, makes me laugh when at New Brighton Rally, the newer imprezas cant keep up with the metro 6r4s....we had a visit the other day from a shelby gt500 and a Ford Rs200, right outside our motorsport workshop..needless to say not much work got done....
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