1985 group B: biggest wings ever

Audi Sport Quattro S1

The impressive performance of the Peugeot 205 T16 in the World Rally Championship forced Audi to react, as the Sport Quattro S1 model was not performing as expected. A poor weight distribution and a very short wheelbase resulted in a very poor rear stability. For this reason, Audi developed the Evolution 2 of the Sport Quattro S1, which was homologated in July 1985 (see form here) and first tested in US Olympus Rally, where Hannu Mikkola obtained an easy victory.

mikkola olympus rally

H.Mikkola/A.Hertz, Audi Quattro Sport E2, Olympus Rally 1985, 1st

Car debut in the World Championship took place in 1985 Argentina Rally, but Stig Blomqvist had to retire due to engine failure at the beginning of the third leg.

stig front

S.Blomqvist/B.Cederberg, Audi Quattro Sport E2, 1985 Argentina Rally, retired.

The Audi Quattro Sport E2 was prepared from the base model and not from the previous evolution. The new car officially quoted 470 CV, although values around 550 Cv were reported later. With so much power, drag was never a problem, and they designed the biggest rear wing ever to ensure maximum downforce and rear stability. It consisted in a central wing, with two external extensions, whose angle of attack could be adjusted, as shown in pictures below, from Blomqvist car in the South American rally.


stig side

In the next rally, 1000 Lakes, modifications were introduced to the rear wing: external prolongations were relocated at a lower position than the central wing. And the angle of attack was kept constant throughout all rally.


S.Blomqvist/B.Cederberg, Audi Quattro Sport E2, 1985 1000 Lakes Rally, 2ond


The final configuration of the rear wing was implemented for the 1985 Sanremo Rally when side wings were removed and replaced by a central, extended wing, so no changes to the angle of attack could be done anymore separately.

rohrl sanremo85.jpg

W.Rohrl/C.Geistdorfer, Audi Quattro Sport E2, 1985 Sanremo Rally, 1st.

To be allowed to use such a big wing, Audi made a smart interpretation of rally regulations: they placed the radiators right below the wing, obtaining the FIA approval as a cooling device, instead of an aerodynamic device.


W.Rohrl/C.Geistdorfer, Audi Quattro Sport E2, 1986 Monte Carlo Rally, 4rth.

Rear wing consisted of three blades. It has been reported to give around 500 kg of aerodynamic load to the rear part of the car.


H. Mikkola/A. Hertz, Audi Quattro Sport E2, 1986 Monte Carlo Rally, 3rd.

Audi Quattro Sport E2 is still known as the most powerful rally car ever competed in an international rally competition.

Unfortunately, the car took part only in 6 rallies of the World Championship between 1985 and 1986, before Audi withdrawal after drama in Rally of Portugal 1986, when 3 spectators died due to an accident by local driver Joaquim Santos (Ford RS200). It only obtained one victory, in Sanremo 1985, partly because of the new evolution of Peugeot 205 T16 and partly due to the appearance of another big piece of technology, the Lancia Delta S4.

Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Evolution 2

Peugeot presented his Evolution 2 of successful 205 Turbo 16 in 1985 1000 Lakes Rally. Car included also a big rear wing, designed by Andre De Cortanze and his team, but still smaller than pretended, as FIA reduced its dimensions in order to keep car performance under control.


K.Grundel/P.Diekmann, Peugeot 205 T16 E2, 1985 1000Lakes Rally, 5th.

Peugeot officially declared new car engine power value of 435 CV, so extra downforce was required to improve rear stability and to correct the defects already identified in the first competitions of the previous version.


K.Grundel/P.Diekmann, Peugeot 205 T16 E2, 1985 1000Lakes Rally, 5th.

The rear wing was supported by two light-alloy struts, what allowed to adjust the wing at different angles of attack. It gave the car the required stability, especially after road jumps in fast stages, such as in Finland, where they claimed the car first victory in 1985. New wing allowed to keep the back of the car lower than the front on landing, while at the same time it created a depression at the back of the car which helped to more effectively extract hot air from the engine bay.


T.Salonen/S.Harjanne, Peugeot 205 T16 E2, 1986 Sanremo Rally

Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 E2 allowed the French manufacturer to extend his outstanding performance and to ensure Manufacturers Title in 1995. But a new generation of group B cars was going to join the Championship in 1985 RAC Rally, led by Lancia.


J.Kankkunen/J.Piironen, Peugeot 205 T16 E2, 1986 Rally of Sweden, 1st.

However, scary accidents in Portugal and Tour de Corse impacted on Lancia’s performance, and Peugeot claimed the World Title for manufacturers and drivers in 1986. Also, Finnish driver Juha Kankkunen ensured his first Drivers World Title, after being first in Sweden, Greece and New Zealand.

kkk acropolis 1996.jpg

J.Kankkunen/J.Piironen, Peugeot 205 T16 E2, 1986 Rally Acropolis, 1st.

But 1986 will be also remembered by the participation of the impressive Lancia Delta S4.

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