From 1982 through to 1986, Group B rallying was one of the highest-paced and most action-filled racing series’ in the world.
Commonly referred to as the ‘golden era of rallying,’ Group B featured few restrictions on technology and vehicle design, allowing competing automakers to develop cars capable of frightening speeds. In the final year of Group B, cars were pumping out more than 500 hp, in excess of double what rally cars were producing prior to Group B.
If you’re stuck at home in quarantine with nothing to do, we highly recommend the video below, created as a tribute to Group B. The clip gathers together some epic footage from the rally series and some shocking scenes chronicling the downfall of Group B.
At its peak, cars such as the Audi Quattro, Lancia 037, Peugeot 205 T16, Lancia Delta S4, and Renault 5 Turbo sped through rally stages at insane speeds. And then there were the crowds. Unlike rallying of today where fans are separated from the cars, spectators at Group B events could get as close to the cars as they wanted, often standing just mere inches away and putting their lives in danger.
Sadly, however, there were a series of deadly crashes in Group B, including one in Portugal where four people died and 31 were injured after a Ford RS200 slammed into a crowd of spectators. Things culminated on May 2, 1986, when Henri Toivonen crashed his Lancia Delta S4 during the Tour de Corse. The car’s fuel tank was pierced by trees as the Lancia left the road and Toivonen, as well as his co-driver Sergio Cresto, both burned to death. Group B was banned just hours later.