1987–1996: HEY­DAYS

Motor Sport News - - Retro: Rallycross At 50 -

The hey­day came late in the 1980s, ben­e­fit­ing from Group B cars.

Grids were swamped with RS200S, Audi quat­tros and Peu­geot 205 T16s with even more power than they orig­i­nally had in ral­ly­ing.

While the cars changed, the names at the top largely re­mained the same; Ala­maki, Schanche and Ar­nes­son all con­tin­u­ing to do bat­tle at the front, but it was Seppo Ni­it­ty­maki who claimed the ti­tle in 1987 in a 205 T16. His Fin­nish com­pa­triot, Ala­maki, claimed the next three, and Schanche earned his penul­ti­mate crown in 1991, in an RS200.

The Rallycross Grand Prix re­mained a ma­jor event, with over 30,000 peo­ple fill­ing the Brands Hatch grand­stands in murky De­cem­ber con­di­tions. Gol­lop, Schanche and Pat Do­ran largely shared the spoils un­til Ken­neth Hansen, who had moved to Su­per­car in 1993 with Citroen sup­port, went on a three-year win­ning run at the event to close out the decade. Group B cars were ban­ished from in­ter­na­tional rallycross (as they had been from ral­ly­ing) at the end of 1992, but not be­fore Gol­lop had claimed the Euro­pean crown in a bi-turbo 6R4. Fel­low English­man Richard Hut­ton won the Group N ti­tle in an Es­cort Cos­worth in 1994, but Gol­lop’s suc­cess in the sport’s top cat­e­gory is still yet to be bet­tered by a Bri­tish driver.

The 1993 cam­paign brought a new era of tech­ni­cal reg­u­la­tions, based on Group A but with con­sid­er­able free­dom in a range of ar­eas, in­clud­ing the use of flat, com­pos­ite floors. French­man Jean-luc Pailler and grad­u­at­ing Group N cham­pion Hansen both se­cured Citroen back­ing for ’93, for their own in­di­vid­ual projects, with the only re­quire­ment be­ing that one of them win the ti­tle. It was Pailler who lifted the crown in an un­likely Citroen BX. Hansen won his first Su­per­car championship in ’94, the same year as his now-wife Su­sann Bergvall claimed the ERA 1400 Cup sup­port cat­e­gory. Aside from Hut­ton’s ti­tle in ’94, Eivind Op­land claimed the re­main­ing Group N cat­e­gory ti­tles in the sport’s third decade, us­ing var­i­ous in­car­na­tions of Mit­subishi Evos.

Pailler took the 1993 crown with Citroen deal Matti Ala­maki en­joyed the Group B golden era

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