Alitaila were title sponsor to the Lancia team, so Lancia were unique back in the '70's in having the luxury of being able to fly their rally cars to certain events, here they are setting off for the 1977 East African Safari.
...and here is one of the cars on that same 1977 Safari Rally, it turned out to be the wettest Safari ever!
Munari 1977 RAC Rally, in the famous Alitalia colours
Stig Blomqvist won his home event an amazing 7 times, it should have been 8 wins in Sweden for Stig but a problem on one stage meant he missed out on a victory in his only Stratos outing in 1978, he completely outclassed the field on just about every other other stage.
Markku Alen 1978 RAC
The official Lancia rally team stopped using the Stratos at the end of 1978, but this didn't stop private teams using the car to full effect.
Bernard Darniche entered a private Stratos on the 1979 Monte Carlo Rally
He proved the car had lost none of its competitive edge, or spectator appeal
A famous win was achieved and the Moët flowed in Monaco harbour
Darniche followed his Monte win with victory in Corsica later in the year, note the spare wheel!
Darniche 1980 Acropolis Rally
The car itself ran out of homologation at the end of 1981, it was then unable to compete at WRC level after this.
Incredibly it was still a winner at top level right until the end. Bernard Darniche carried on using the Stratos as long as he could, here he is on his way to 6th position on the 1981 Monte Carlo
Darniche gave the Stratos its final WRC win on the 1981 Tour de Corse - Despite doing his best to rid the car of its bodywork!
Darniche won the European Rally Championship for drivers using a Stratos in 1976 & 1977, at the time this was the highest accolade a driver could achieve (WRC drivers crown didn't start until 1979)
The WRC Manufacturers title did however exist from 1973 and the Stratos won that crown in 1974-75-76
Markku Alen gave the car it's final appearance on the 1981 RAC Rally, he led on the early spectator stages but retired after an accident in the forest.
Its OK, it gave Lancia a reason to build the 037.
Dave Shindle/Navitron 2000
So what was the first car to really make use of the homologation rules that governed International rallying? Many people will name the Mini Cooper as a possible candidate, but the Cooper was a Mini with a bigger engine and other mods, so not really that daring, even if it was a very successful rally car.
The original rally supercar was the Alpine-Renault. Alpine started building lightweight cars on Renault chassis during the early 1950's in Dieppe. The Alpine A110 had a glassfibre body and a 1600cc then latterly an 1800cc engine.
1600cc doesn't sound like a supercar engine right? It produced a reasonable 155bhp but the reason the car went so well was its weight, it tipped the scales at just 680kg.
Here is Jean-Luc Therier on the 1970 RAC Rally, Therier had already won the Sanremo and Acropolis rallies during 1970.
Ove Andersson on the 1971 RAC, he had enjoyed a successful season, his win on the 1971 Monte Carlo Rally had convinced Lancia rally boss Cesare Fiorio to push ahead and create the Lancia Stratos, so we have a small garage owner in Dieppe to thank for the Stratos, and every other Group B supercar that followed - French clutter!
Jean-Pierre Nicolas on the 1972 Monte Carlo, by now the works cars were running 1800cc engines, these gave 175bhp, the cars had gained a little weight and were now just over 700kg. 12 years later, Nicolas would become the first driver to score WRC points at the wheel of the 205 T16, a car which he helped to develop.
Morocco 1973, yes they actually had a WRC round in Morocco back then, car number 1 and the winning car is that of Bernard Darniche (his name keeps showing up in this thread) Alpine-Renault won the World Championship for makes in 1973, the first time it was ever run.
Thank you for posting all of this great historical information for us. I am following this thread and the Group B thread at the M5 site.
Keep up the good work.
Team Harco Motorsports
"Win on Sunday, Sleep on Monday"
'The Porsche 911, one of the most successful rally cars ever'
I find that statement usually causes a reaction! I think a lot of people dismiss the 911 as a rally car because its so long since the car was winning international rallies. The 911 actually pre dates the Group 4 rules themselves, not only that but it was actually re homologated into Group B (I'll have to go back to that in the Group B thread)
Porsche started to take rallying seriously in the mid 1960's, this was the era of the 2 litre 911, for 1967 they signed the brilliant young British driver Vic Elford away from Ford, the photo below shows Elford on the right with co driver David Stone during the 1967 Monte Carlo, they finished 3rd overall.
One year later, same pairing, same car, but this time there were no mistakes, Elford took a famous win, which remains to this day, the last time a British driver won the Monte Carlo Rally.
A proud moment for any driver, collecting the silverware from Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco. It is worth noting that Elford travelled straight to the USA after this win, one week later he took victory on the Daytona 24 Hours, Porsche's first ever 24 hour race win, not a bad few days work.
On the right of this photo, the man with the two cameras is Huschke von Hanstein, he was public relations manager at Porsche before public relations existed! von Hanstein actually won the 1940 Mille Miglia driving for BMW, stood next to him is Pauli Toivonen (Henri's father) who finished second to Elford in 1968.
A small crowd gathers for the start of the 1969 Mote Carlo Rally!
Elford switched to the race team full time for 1969, Porsche signed Swedish driver Bjorn Waldegard for their rally team.
Waldegard took the 911 to victory, not just on the 1969 Monte but also on the 1970 event, three Monte Carlo Rallies on the bounce for the 911.
The 911 performed on all types of events, here is Waldegard on his way to 2nd place on the 1971 RAC Rally.
An interesting chase car, 1978 would be the 4th Monte Carlo win for the 911, this time the car was a 3.0 litre, 300bhp model, weighing in at 1000kg, car #3 is the winning car, driven by Frenchman Jean-Pierre Nicolas. The car was prepared by Almeras.
Waldegard was back with the 911 for the 1978 Safari, he very nearly won but had to settle for 2nd.
Awesome thread, it kept me in the garage on the internet for a while on a beautiful day, so it must be filled with good stuff!!
One of the ProDrive 911s, the car piloted by Saeed al Hajri is being restored here in CT, unfortunately the current owner does not plan on rallying it again.
Here's me, sitting in awe in that machine...
Just at the bottom of this pic you can still see the notecard with the startup sequence on it.
The owner wants to go down to bare metal and bring it back from there, so many measuerments were done to ensure that the livery would be correct when redone.
The rest of the gallery of pics
"This ain't asphalt, son, this is dirt, you don't have three-wheel brakes, so you got to pitch it hard, break it loose and then just drive it with the throttle. Give it too much, you'll be outta the dirt and into the tulips; I'll put it simple, if you goin' hard enough left, you'll find yourself turnin' right. -Doc Hudson
Great stories and photos......
I just stumbled across Saeed Hajri not too long ago as he use to also rally an Audi Ur Quattro among other cars.. ( http://www.saeedalhajri.com/thank.htm ) James Bufkin not too long ago bought some rothmans Quattro parts from Dubai which have the Rothmans livery colors.. I ended up with the Rally computer from the dash ( the guts are gone but will have replacements soon ) What history.....
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Thought Al Harji rallied a 911SCRS. Those bumpers don't look like SCRS components. Nevertheless, that car looks sweet!
Great thread. I can help you when you get to the 240RS. I have a factory sales brochure of a "street car".
Also, remember the Alpine A310 with a V6? Was that a Group 4 car?