Lancia Delta S4 at the 1985 RAC Rally.

Lancia Delta S4 at the 1985 RAC Rally.

Rallying as we know it today grew out of the sport of trials and developed rapidly from 1950 onwards. Special stages on loose road surfaces were introduced. Endurance became increasingly important and more specialised vehicles appeared. The fastest production cars were no longer necessarily rally winners.

The Ford Escort was one of the most successful competition cars ever built. It scored its first international rally success in 1968, and remained highly competitive until the early 1980s. In 1981, Ari Vatanen drove an Escort to second place in the Lombard RAC Rally, and clinched the drivers' World Rally Championship. The car he drove can be seen in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. Rallying changed dramatically with the introduction of the four-wheel drive Audi Quattro. Four-wheel drive gave great advantages on forest stages and the Quattro became the first such car to win a World Championship rally.

Spain’s Sebastian Loeb drove the Citroen Xsara WRC to victory in the 2004 World Rally Championship setting a new world record for the number of Championship wins.


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