• Home
  • traffic
  • Lancia rally team in review: Assembled ex-rally world champion cars

Lancia rally team in review: Assembled ex-rally world champion cars

Wolfgang Wilhelm
A look back at the Lancia rally team
Subscriptions & booklets

D You must have been insane. How else would anyone in this beast get shot through Finland? On gravel roads, at a speed of 200 km, only trees on the left, only trees on the right, after the hilltops in the middle only trees - and that in the Lancia Delta S4.

Group B produced the Lancia Delta S4

It consists of a tubular space frame, filigree like a Märklin metal construction kit, forming the floor Material, which in its stability is reminiscent of toasted slices of toast, and as a body they have thrown a starched tablecloth over the whole thing. Inside there are two squatting in narrow bucket seats, and behind them - separated by a bulkhead, as thin as cling film - the 1.8-liter engine rages, the compressor and turbo charger fluff up to 480 hp with up to 1.4 bar boost pressure. The wildest World Rally Championship epoch, Group B, produces the Lancia Delta S4 and will burn up with it. From November 1985 onwards, he was milling through casually cordoned off special stages with a turbocharging and four-wheel drive - a hazardous goods transporter loaded with 100 liters of gasoline, as fragile and easily flammable as a packet of matches.

The procurement of spare parts for the Lancia Delta S4 and the 037 Rally turns out to be difficult

He's still grinning sneakily, even now that he's in private Marco Bianchini Museum stands. And nobody is allowed to see him. There are more sophisticated places for a conspiratorial meeting than Bologna Airport - a washed-out concrete block with the architectural grace of a bunker. Here we meet Dirk Marchel, managing director of the Gruppo Ricambi Bielstein, and clap the Autostrada Adriatica to Rimini in a rental car. Marchel has been taking care of the spare parts supply for Bianchinis rally team K-Sport - a task that requires enormous patience and instinct, because there is really nothing left for cars like the Lancia Delta S4 and the 037 Rally. And the little that still exists is often offered by people who make protection rackets appear pleasant business partners. Over the years, however, a close relationship of trust has developed between Marchel and K-Sport, which is the only reason why he is allowed to show us the unique collection and the team.

Historical rallying is more exciting than racing boats

K-Sport does not superviseonly Bianchini's car, but also customer cars. The mechanics manufacture around ten percent of all parts themselves. They have the technology under control: two ex-Abarth employees take care of the engines and transmissions, many chassis elements come from the current rally spare parts program. It gets really difficult with body parts or inconspicuous things like brake fluid reservoirs. Then Marchel has to look, and somehow he always finds everything for K-Sport. Marco Bianchini founded the team nine years ago. The industrialist with immodest fortune had become bored with racing boats, and he discovered historical rallying. His first competition car was a Lancia 037, later he began to beat the competition with his black Stratos.

The Lancia Stratos is powered by a Ferrari Dino-V6

Over the years, cups by the shelf have been collected - and a museum full of Lancia rally cars . The highlight is of course the Stratos, the first car developed only for rallies. Bertone drew the mid-engined racing car powered by the Ferrari Dino-V6. No one moved him more gifted than Sandro Munari. In 1977 - four years after the Stratos' debut - he won the World Cup with it. Next to Munaris Lancia Stratos is Markku Aléns 037 Rally. In 1983 Walter Röhrl and Alén fight the Audi Quattro with the mid-engine coupé. It is the time of the almost operetta-like rally battles. This chaos and roaring at the service points alone, when two dozen mechanics attack the Lancia 037 screaming, with the Lancia team boss at the time Cesare Fiorio in the middle and loudest, in the car or somewhat apart from the grumpy Walter Röhrl and Alén, the Finn with the need to communicate of a tree. Together they win the brand world championship for Lancia - the last triumph of a two-wheel drive rally car.

The Lancia Delta S4 madness never ends

With the Lancia Delta S4, Lancia plunges into the crazy end times of Group B. It races through people's trellises in Portugal and ends when Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto have a fatal accident in the Lancia Delta S4 at the Corsica rally. In 1987 the tamer Group A started. Lancia won six brand world championships in a row with the Delta. Bianchini has much of the Delta evolution from Alén's '87 AWD to Juha Kankkunen's '92 Integrale Evo. Lancia itself never cared much for the car, but sold them off without much sentimentality as soon as the opportunity arose. There must have been many opportunities, as Lancia hardly has any cars today. At least the 25 or so competition S4s succeeded in what they were not granted at Lancia: They are in sentimental hands. Some S4s still start in historic rallies. So that the madness never ends.


Leave a reply

Name *