Almuraba Net – One of the greatest rally cars ever, Lancia was one of the biggest names in the world of cars; When it comes to the World Rally Championship, and in fact, it remains perhaps the biggest and greatest name in the history of the sport, for what the Lancia 037 provided, and for decades Lancia was the manufacturer that won the most championship titles in the history of the WRC, but perhaps the victory of the Lancia 037 Rally The year 1983 was the most impressive in the company’s long string of victories, and it became the last two-wheel drive car to ever win the World Rally Championship.
In a new article from the “Stories in the World of Cars” series of articles, we review the history of this victory, which occurred on October 7, 1983. After the Lancia Rally 037 won its fifth title in the FIA Formula One World Constructors’ Championship in the Sanremo Rally competition, and talk about that legendary Lancia Rally 037 that fully embodied the spirit of the brand, and became the inspiration for many sports designs in the eighties.
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Despite the superiority of the Audi Quattro… How did the Lancia 037 win the 1983 Sanremo Rally?
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The victory, which was achieved exactly 40 years ago, remains a historic moment for the rally, but the beginning of that story coincided with the beginning of the eighties of the last century, and this date, October 7, 1983, has become a truly unforgettable date for the Italian brand Lancia, which is now owned by the giant Stellantis group. The FIA introduced Group B regulations for the World Rally Championship in 1982 in which manufacturers needed to design and build a new car to compete in that international championship.
The 1980s saw the replacement of rear-wheel drive Group 2 cars with more powerful four-wheel drive Group B cars, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) approved four-wheel drive in 1979; But most manufacturers thought it was too complicated to succeed, and in 1982 the Group B regulation came into effect, and the idea of FISA was to encourage brands to enter the World Rally Championship so that they could build competition cars, for this reason; The regulations allowed brands to build cars exclusively for competition on the condition that only 200 units were built for the market, in complete contrast to Group 4 which allowed the mandatory 400 units, as well as the possibility for manufacturers to homogenize the development of these models by building only 20 more units in the series; This has led to brands constantly developing cars that are more powerful and faster than ever before.
The Lancia 037 was the first car created under Group B regulations, and was the first to be approved in 1982. This was the year of development of the model, and the protagonists of the novel were (the technically advanced Audi Quattro and the Opel Ascona 400). 1983 The Lancia 037 was ready. It was mainly characterized by its tubular chassis and fiberglass body. It was also very light and easy to drive, with good weight distribution, unlike the Audi, which was heavier in the front area where the engine was located.
But the Lancia 037 suffered from the best weapon its competitor was equipped with, which was the four-wheel drive system, unlike the 037, which was designed with a rear-wheel drive system. As Lancia was still hesitant about this technology, this is what gave its competitor, Audi Quattro, superiority in difficult areas (snow or mud), while Lancia was more agile on asphalt, and in the end Lancia won the Constructors’ Championship that year by only two points over Audi thanks to the performance of Its distinguished drivers, who won 5 stages (Monte Carlo, Corsica, Acropolis, New Zealand and San Remo) three of them on asphalt, however the drivers’ championship went to Audi driver Hannu Mikkola.
Sergio Limon, chief development engineer for the Lancia 037
As for Lancia, testing of the 037 Rally began in early 1980 during the development process supervised by then chief engineer Sergio Limon. In June of 1982, the car was built with a 301 chassis. It was the first Lancia Rally car, and the first trip of the 037 was in Finland, and the tests continued. Technical until December 1982, the Lancia Rally project was named Abarth SE037.
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The Lancia Rally Car, better known by its design name “037”, was in fact a very distinctive sports car with all its details and bold, aggressive design. Only 200 examples were produced to gain approval as a Group B race car. Its official debut was in 1982, in The 59th edition of the Turin Motor Show with the road version.
The aerodynamic body of the rear-wheel drive Lancia 037 was developed by Pininfarina, and is powered by a 4-cylinder, 2.0-litre, Volumex supercharged mid-engine, producing more than 300 hp and 333 Nm of torque, and with an aerodynamic body 16-inch Speedline aluminum wheels, Pirelli P7 205/55 VR 16 tires.
As for the car’s weight and dimensions, they are as follows:
- Weight: 960 kg.
- Total length: 3,915 mm.
- Total width: 1,850 mm.
- Total height: 1,240 mm.
- Wheelbase length: 2,445 mm.
The competition between Lancia and Audi
The 25th round of the Sanremo Rally was held from 2 to 8 October, the 10th round of the 1983 World Rally Championship. The Sanremo Rally was a mixture of asphalt and gravel stages, with the advantage ebbing and flowing between Lancia and Audi, and Audi was able to take The advantage was on asphalt, but Lancia was better on gravel than Audi, and after an astonishing 58 stages, Marko Alen and Ilka Kivimaki crossed the finish line with this legendary car to win the 1983 Sanremo Rally.
A real achievement, taking into account the technical values and strength of competing models; Which was already based on a four-wheel drive engine, while the Lancia Rally 037 used a rear-wheel drive engine, and after 40 years, this remains an achievement that has not been repeated in the history of racing, and the victory in Sanremo marked the beginning of the golden era of this model, and in a very short time Lancia succeeded Rally 037 attracted millions of fans around the world, as well as the World Championship led by Marco Alén, Attilio Bettega and Walter Röhrl.
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