Not such a good start: Metro 6R4 and BX 4TC

Motor Sport News - - Wrc Preview: 1986 Monte -

Austin Rover’s as­sault on the 1986 WRC got off to an in­aus­pi­cious start, with both MG Metro 6R4s re­tir­ing early.

Buoyed by an ex­cep­tional third place on the car’s de­but – the 1985 RAC Rally – a cou­ple of months ear­lier, driv­ers Tony Pond and Mal­colm Wil­son headed south to the French Alps with high hopes. The car might have strug­gled to match the pow­er­ful Audis, but it was 100kg lighter than the Ger­man ma­chine.

And, po­ten­tially more drive­able in the change­able con­di­tions; the ab­sence of a turbo lim­ited power, but it also meant zero lag and gave near im­me­di­ate throt­tle re­sponse for the Brits.

Un­for­tu­nately, nei­ther Pond or Wil­son had ever com­peted on the Monte be­fore and would strug­gle against driv­ers with vastly more ex­pe­ri­ence of the stages and con­di­tions.

In the end, Pond was with­drawn af­ter suf­fer­ing steer­ing prob­lems on the first loop. The rack on his car was changed, but when it tight­ened again af­ter SS6 – ac­tu­ally caus­ing him to crash into the wel­come to Aix-les-bains sign, ARG team prin­ci­pal John Daven­port took the de­ci­sion to with­draw the car.

Wil­son was run­ning in­side the top 10 when he re­tired in Burzet. His car lost drive to the rear on the way up to the col, with the front dif­fer­en­tial giv­ing up on the way down.

Citroen was also start­ing on its WRC ad­ven­ture with the BX 4TC. This car was al­most as short on test­ing as it was on power and it came as no sur­prise when the me­chan­ics were still work­ing fu­ri­ously on both cars be­fore the start.

Philippe Wam­ber­gue’s car re­tired on stage two when the hy­drop­neu­matic sus­pen­sion col­lapsed. Jean-claude An­druet made it through the first loop be­fore go­ing off the road on the se­cond day. His exit was ar­guably has­tened by sim­i­lar sus­pen­sion trou­bles.

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