Early 80’s: waiting for group B revolution

In the first years of the 80’s, some new cars appeared in the World Rally Championship, still with very limited aerodynamic appendices. Renault launched its successful 5 Turbo model, designed by Yves Lagal, with a small but well-integrated spoiler (see Homologation Form here).

1981 Ragnotti Andrie Monte Carlo Renault 5 turbo

J. Ragnotti/J.M.Andrié, Renault 5 Turbo, 1981 Monte Carlo Rally (1st)

Victory in Monte Carlo was only possible after the retirement of newcomer Audi Quattro, still in its group 4 version, which was leading the rally with a six-minutes advantage after six stages, before retiring due to alternator belt failure. The car included a small spoiler which was going to grow significantly in the group B version of the car. The Quattro concept included four-wheel drive for the first time in a rally car, which proved to be key to success since then.

1981 Mikkola Hertz Monte Carlo Audi Quattro.jpg

H.Mikkola/A.Hertz, Audi Quattro, Monte Carlo Rally 1981 (retired)

Opel launched in 1980 the Ascona 400 model, equipped also with a rear spoiler.

kullang opel ascona.png

A.Kullang/B.Berglund, Opel Ascona 400, Sweden Rally 1980 (1st)

Mitsubishi made his debut in European rallies with the Lancer 2000 turbo model, which also incorporated a small rear spoiler. This was the first appearance of the make who dominated the world rally championship in the late 90’s.

1982 Airikkala Piironen 1000 lakes lancer turbo 2000.jpg

P.Airikkala/J.Piironen, Mitsubishi Lancer 2000 Turbo, 1000 Lakes Rally 1982, 3rd

During this period, the most relevant car in terms of aerodynamics was the impressive BMW M1, equipped with a big rear wing. It only took part in asphalt rallies, as no version was developed for other surfaces.

1983 Beguin Lenne Tour de Corse BMW M1.jpg

B.Beguin/JJ.Lenne, BMW M1, Tour de Corse 1983 (retired)

Datsun (soon after renamed as Nissan) also made appear the Datsun Violet GT in the World Rally Championship, which also was equipped with a small rear spoiler.

1981 Mehta Doughty Safari Datsun Violet GT.jpg

S.Mehta/M.Doughty, Datsun Violet GT, Safari Rally 1981 (1st)

History continues with the first group B cars.

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