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Little Classics News: 3 April 2014

Firebreathing Group B Legends Join World Rallycross Championship

Firebreathing Group B Legends Join World Rallycross ChampionshipSpecial races and displays featuring sensational cars from the legendary Group B era will help celebrate the UK’s first ever round of the prestigious new FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy. The milestone Autosport World RX of Great Britain extravaganza takes place at the historic Lydden Hill circuit in Kent over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (24-25 May).

Originally introduced in 1982 to compete at the forefront of international sport, the exotic Group B formula spawned some of the quickest and most technically sophisticated rally cars ever created in what’s remembered as a golden age. However, such was their incredible speed that these awesome Group B supercars were swiftly outlawed from world class rallying at the end of 1986 following a series of fatal accidents.

Far from being the end of the road for these ferociously fast extreme machines, many quickly found a new home in rallycross where, with a more flexible rulebook, they continued to be developed well beyond their ultimate evolution in rallying. Horsepower levels often were boosted from around 450bhp to 650bhp and many cars sprouted even bigger aerodynamic wings in an attempt to harness all the extra flame-spitting energy.

Group B Rally Cross Metro 6R4Though relatively short-lived, that extraordinary epoch has acquired legendary status among motor sport fans. Now many of the classic Group B rallycross monsters from that generation will be back in spectacular action for some thrilling invitation races at Lydden as yet another major attraction on next month’s bumper World RX bill. Adding to the excitement and drama, some will even be raced by their original drivers.

The dramatic line-up of competing classic cars organised by Retro Rallycross is topped by Pat Doran. The Lydden Hill owner and former British Rallycross Champion has rebuilt his iconic Q8 liveried Ford RS200 – nicknamed ‘Rosie’ – especially for the occasion. Others rolling back the years include Nigel Mummery in another of the mid-engined Ford RS200s, Olle Arnesson in his glorious Audi Sport Quattro S1, Rob Gibson and Lawrence Gibson both in sweet-sounding V6 powered MG Metro 6R4s plus the amazing Glomma Papp backed RS200 E2 as campaigned in period by the late Jan-Arthur Iversen which will be raced by Norwegian ace Stian Hafsengen.

Group B Legends Join World Rallycross Championship“We wanted to mark the arrival of the new World Rallycross Championship at Lydden with something truly special – and we’ve really done that with what’s going to be an astonishing turn-out of these fantastic Group B cars,” enthused Doran. “Many of today’s rallycross fans will never have seen these epic machines in flat-out action, so for them this is going to be an absolute ‘must see’ occasion. In fact, such is the incredible fervour for Group B these days, this compelling ‘blast from the past’ is something no one will want to miss.”

Spectators will also be able to witness an equally evocative static display of genuine Group B homologation specials. A large number of iconic machines has already been confirmed including several more Ford RS200s and Audi quattros as well as a Lancia 037, Lancia Delta S4, Peugeot 205 T16, Nissan 240RS, Citroen BX4TC plus one of the Peugeot 405 T16s as immortalised at the Pikes Peak hillclimb by Ari Vatenen.

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