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Six of the best: Group B rally cars

It is 30 years since the fearsome Group B rally cars were outlawed. For many, they represent the pinnacle of rally cars – but 600bhp and poor safety regulations don’t mix.

By the timeFinnish driver Henri Toivonen and co-driver Sergio Cresta’s Lancia went off the side of a corner with no guardrail in 1986 at the Tour de Corse, the writing was on the wall for Group B.

To mark the anniversary of its passing, these iconic rally cars gathered once more at the London Classic Car Show, giving petrolheads a chance to get up close and personal with this extinct breed of rally cars.

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Ford RS200

The RS200 was Ford’s second attempt at building a Group B rally car. Its first attempt, the RS1700T, was based on the Mk3 Escort and was rear-wheel drive – but it quickly became clear that four-wheel drive was the future. So the RS200 was born – a new design put together by design company Ghia, Formula One engineer Tony Southgate and Ford’s own John Wheeler (also a former F1 engineer). It has a mid-mounted 1.8-litre turbocharged engine and a lightweight plastic and fibreglass body. It made its debut in Sweden in 1986. At the following event in Portugal, Joaquim Santos lost control of his RS200, killing three people and injuring 30 more.

Comments

MondeoMonkeyMagic    on 7 March 2016

I consider myself lucky enough to have seen these some of the above brutes in action as a young and impressionable rally fan during the 80's. They are all terrific technical tour de forces of course, but my personal favourite was the 6R4. I have a picture of Malcom Wilson driving C867 EUU through Pundershaw (Killer Kielder Forest as it was known back then) at night. Happy days for me. Until recently, I mistakenly thought the 6R4 powerplant was a breathed on modified version of Rover's P5B/P6/SD1 3.5 Buick engine but I now believe it had a modified DFV engine. You Tube is a good place to relive these cars.

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