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Rally Racing: A Brief History

A motorsport race for the fast and fearless

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Rally racing is unique in the motorsport industry where drivers race on closed public roads, up mountains, and through the forest — basically on any surface conditions. The co-driver reads the pace notes describing the paths ahead while the driver powers the car down a single lane road at blistering speeds. Perseverance, confidence, skills, and a tinge of insanity is what makes rally drivers a special breed.

 

It was in the 1960s when rally racing started to take form and teams became more professional. Carmaker Mini was ahead of the game during that decade with their lightweight cars and proper drivers. Rally stages then became longer and more exciting in the 1970s with the birth of African Safari Rally and World Rally Championship (WRC). The 1980s saw the introduction of a new group, Group B, in which manufacturers like Audi used the four-wheel-drive (4WD) system in their Quattro. This changed the way rally cars were made forever, but several unfortunate accidents caused the Group B Rally to close down.

 

In the early 1990s, Japanese manufacturers dominated the era with teams such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Subaru in a three-way battle to take the number one spot. The late 90s saw European manufacturers finally competing thanks to the change of rules. The rally scene has undergone many changes, from racing stock cars to the fire-spitting speed demons of Group B. It is no secret that rally has contributed to the improvement of vehicle safety and durability, and will continue to do so for the future.

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