Tag Archives: monte carlo rally 2017

A wonderful fresh interest in Rallying

24 Jan


Three decades ago, what, in my opinion, was the pinnacle of World Rallying, Group B, came to an abrupt end. My long interest , nay , obsession, in Rallying began to wane. The cars became shadows of their former selves. The sound of monstrous, 500 + bhp engines, echoing around the forests  was lost.

But last night, by chance, as I was publishing the post below, about Classic Micro Fiat motorhomes, I came across the first round of the 2017 WRC ., the Monte Carlo Rally on Channel 5. Oh my word!  The Monte has always been amongst my favourite rounds. It kicks off the Rallying season, blasts away the Christmas holiday blues and gives the enthusiast something to look forward to. A couple of times, although I have never attended the Monte, I have been drawn on impulse to head for the beauty of the South of France. I have been by small motor car (Mazda 323… remember the Mazda 323 Rally Challenge Series?) and by motorcycle. I have even written short books about these experiences, some of which may surprise and even shock you. (Clue: did you see Apple Tree Yard at the weekend?)

Getting to the point, the cars for 2017 have changed a lot.

I believe , after seeing last night’s footage, it heralds a new era of truly exciting motorsport. Below I comment further and make some comparison with the old Group B. I hope you enjoy this little diversion.


Sebastien Ogier relaxes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2012 in Loutraki, Greece on May 24th, 2012 // Gepa Pictures/McKlein/Red Bull Content Pool // P-20120525-00104 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //

Sebastien Ogier relaxes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2012

The FIA relaxed the rules for 2017, allowing lighter cars than previously, down 25 kg from 1230 kg plus more power, up from 320 bhp to around 380 bhp. This was mainly achieved by increasing the turbo restrictor diameter by just 3 mm on these 1600 cc engines.

ott-tanak  Ott Tanak.

Perhaps the most obvious changes are the visual appearance. Wider bodied with cooling ducts for brakes plus more aerodynamic aids to increase downforce. Many of the modifications appear to be taken almost directly from Formula 1 car experience. Rear wings have grown since 2016.Stunning ! Expect a lot more damage (?) to the underskirts particularly with the appalling surfaces they race on in the forests, especially once cut up by previous stage runners.

They are beginning to look a lot more like the old Group B cars.

audi-quattro-group-b Compare to this Audi Quattro. First time out it won by something like 8 to 9 minutes from it’s nearest rival.

One of my previously hotly tipped young drivers, finally found a confirmed drive with his old co-driver at M-Sport Ford. Yes, Elfyn Evans is back where he deserves. His team, lead by the familiar Malcolm Wilson ( who had driven Group B cars himself) also pulled a huge plus by employing Sebastion Ogier after VW pulled out after a very successful , 4 year dominance of the WRC. M-Sports also have the skillful Ott Tanak, driving for them.

2014 World Rally Championship / Round 06 /  Rally Italia Sardegna // Worldwide Copyright: McKlein

Elfyn Evans. I remember his dad, Gwyndaf Evans. Like father like son. Well done, lad.

see  Gwyndaf at the Manx rally     https://youtu.be/HJ8lWDo5VO8


The Monte saw Ford take first place with Ogier in his Fiesta and third place with Tanak in his, despite engine issues causing a loss in power. With the very icy conditions, this did not have such a major impact on stage times as it would on dry tarmac, but what an achievement ! Sixth place went to Elfyn Evans. An incredible result first time out.That’s a Fiesta way above. Don’t mistake it for the Fiat  Fiesta micro motorhome in the post below. Not much chance of that.  But please have a look anyway.

Post-production : Astuce Productions

Citroen have wheeled out the new C3 and Toyota  have returned too. Post-production : Astuce Productions

Toyota, who years ago , got disqualified, in disgrace, for fitting illegal, larger diameter restrictors outside of the then reulations, returned to rallying, I am very pleased to say, with their Yaris. This is a very spectacular looking car in my opinion. Wow ! Jari-Matti Latvala took his to second place. Obviously more to come from Latvala and Toyota. I see a long fight ahead on the WRC stages this year. The Hyundai i20 of Thiery Neuville also looks to be a big contender.


Jari-Matti Latvala has had a few “offs” in the past see   https://youtu.be/qdtkK7wdgJc

I did some “fag packet” calculations and the new 2017 cars compare very well with the old Group B cars.

Group B cars had some 500 bhp vs 2017 WRC 380 bhp but weights were different. If my calcs are correct then the new 2017 cars carry just 8 lbs per horsepower whilst the Group B cars carried a little more porkiness being 9.77 lbs per horsepower.I know that is not a conventional way to compare power to weight ratio but you get the picture. We appear to be firmly back in “Group B” territory. Yeah !

No wonder 2017 looks to be a year to look forward to.

Sadly, a spectator struck on Stage 1 when a car slid off the track, died in hospital despite being helicoptered out. A dreadful thing to happen. Our hearts go out to friends and family. It is truly saddening.