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The WRC - looking back over 30 years.

Everyone has spent the weekend talking about Wales Rally GB, as Petter Solberg and Sebastien Loeb battled for honours on the British round of the World Rally Championship.

One of those people was John Davenport, a man who knows more than most when it comes to the world of rallying, as he is one of the men behind The Complete Book of the World Rally Championship, a look back over the first 30 years of the WRC.

Along with Henry Hope-Frost, Davenport – himself a rally winning co-driver – has put together the book to allow WRC fans to examine the championship from 1973 to 2003, profiling the drivers who have been lucky enough to win an event at the highest level and looking back over the highs and lows of the championship so far.

“Henry did all the driver stats,” he told Crash.net, “and I did the words and bits on the cars. We had to profile 60 odd drivers and some of those who just had one win back near the start in 1973 and 74 would have been hard to track down. However I was still competing back then, so it made it easier to get the info we needed.”

In his research, Davenport has been able to see the championship evolve, through the highs and lows, but despite all that he says one thing hasn't changed.

“Driver and co-drivers are pretty much the same!” he said, “they way they drive the cars is the same, but other things have evolved and changed beyond all recognition. In the 70s, a rally would last four, five, maybe even six days, running over long distances and with stages into the night.

"The Safari rally, which isn't on the calendar anymore, was one of those long endurance events and it was the pinnacle for a driver, it walked a bit taller than the rest. Monte Carlo is the most famous event, and drivers always looked at the old 1000 Lakes event, but the Safari was the big one that a driver wanted on his CV.

“Now we have a strict three day format, with very little night running, maybe just the odd stage towards the end of the year when the nights start to draw in a bit. Of course the cars have changed beyond all recognition. In 1973, a front-wheel-drive car with 150hp was competitive. Now we have closer to 400hp, sequential gearboxes, turbos, the list goes on.”

In looking at 30 years of competition, Davenport is in an ideal position to compare the different cars that have competed over the years, but despite the many millions of pounds invested in the modern WRC cars, it is one from the 1980s that gets his vote as the greatest take part in the WRC.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Loeb / Daniel Elena - Citroen Xsara WRC
Petter Solberg splashes on.
Markko Martin / Michael Park - Ford Focus RS WRC
12.02.2017 - 1st place Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)-Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, 2nd place Ott Tanak (EAU)-Martin Jarveoja (EST),Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - 1st place Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)-Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT, 2nd place Ott Tanak (EAU)-Martin Jarveoja (EST),Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Sébastien Ogier (FRA)-Julien Ingrassia (FRA) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Pontus Tidemand (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport
12.02.2017 - Pontus Tidemand (SWE)-Jonas Andersson (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport
12.02.2017 - Pontus Tidemand (SWE)-Jonas Andersson (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport
12.02.2017 - Podium WRC 2, 1st place Pontus Tidemand (SWE)-Jonas Andersson (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport, 2nd place Teemu SUNINEN (FIN) - Mikko MARKKULA (FIN) Ford Fiesta R5, M‐Sport World Rally Team and 3rd place Ole Christian VEIBY (NOR) - Stig Rune SKJÆRMOEN (NOR) Skoda Fabia R5, Printsport
12.02.2017 - WRC 2, Pontus Tidemand (SWE)-Jonas Andersson (SWE) Skoda Fabia R5 WRC2, Skoda Motorsport race winner
12.02.2017 - Henning Solberg (NOR)- Ilka Minor (AUT) Ford Fiesta RS WRC
12.02.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Mads Ostberg (NOR)-Ola Floene (NOR) Ford Fiesta WRC, M‐Sport World Rally Team
12.02.2017 - Juho Hanninen (FIN)-Kaj Lindstrom (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
12.02.2017 - Juho Hanninen (FIN)-Kaj Lindstrom (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
12.02.2017 - Juho Hanninen (FIN)-Kaj Lindstrom (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
12.02.2017 - Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN)-Miikka Anttila (FIN) Toyota Yaris WRC, Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT race winner

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