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The legendary and tragic saga of Group B Rally: a retrospective

lancia rally 037

Sergio Remondino, a seasoned journalist and profound connoisseur of the multifaceted world of rally, meticulously recounts that unforgettable era year by year. His narrative, rich in anecdotes, is complemented by the insights of engineer Sergio Limone, one of the masterminds behind Group B.

Group B cars marked one of the most captivating yet tragic chapters in the history of global rallying. The 037, S4, and EVC and ECV2, known as “ephemeral stars” of a never-born Group S, were the unforgettable protagonists of the seasons from 1982 to 1986. These seasons, dominated by the Lancia brand, witnessed numerous world, European, and Italian titles but also tragic accidents claiming the lives of Attilio Bettega, Henri Toivonen, and Sergio Cresto.

Sergio Remondino, a seasoned journalist and profound connoisseur of the multifaceted world of rally, meticulously recounts that unforgettable era year by year. His narrative, rich in anecdotes, is complemented by the insights of engineer Sergio Limone, one of the masterminds behind Group B. Adding depth to this invaluable volume are the evocative images captured by Reinhard Klein, one of the most renowned photographers in the rally world.

The Group B era, spanning merely five years from its inception, left an indelible mark on rallying. It was an era characterized by unprecedented technological advancements, blistering speeds, and daredevil driving, captivating millions of fans worldwide. However, the allure of Group B was accompanied by inherent risks, ultimately leading to its demise.

In its brief existence, Group B redefined the limits of automotive engineering and driver skill. Lancia’s dominance, spearheaded by its iconic models, remains etched in the annals of motorsport history. The 037, with its rear-wheel-drive layout, and the revolutionary all-wheel-drive S4, showcased the pinnacle of Italian engineering prowess. These machines, bred for speed and performance, captured the imagination of enthusiasts and drivers alike.

Yet, amidst the triumphs, Group B bore witness to unspeakable tragedies. The deaths of Bettega, Toivonen, and Cresto served as stark reminders of the perilous nature of the sport. The FIA, faced with mounting safety concerns, made the unprecedented decision to disband Group B at the end of the 1986 season, marking the end of an era.

Remondino’s narrative serves as a poignant reminder of the triumphs and tribulations that defined Group B rallying. Through his meticulous research and firsthand accounts, he immortalizes the spirit of an era characterized by unbridled passion and adrenaline-fueled competition.

The contributions of Sergio Limone offer a glimpse into the ingenuity and innovation that propelled Group B to unprecedented heights. Limone’s insights shed light on the engineering marvels that graced the rally stages, pushing the boundaries of performance and technology.

Reinhard Klein’s captivating imagery transports readers back to the golden age of rallying. His photographs, capturing the intensity and drama of competition, evoke a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era.

In conclusion, “The Legendary and Tragic Saga of Group B Rally: A Retrospective” pays homage to the enduring legacy of a motorsport phenomenon. It celebrates the triumphs, mourns the losses, and immortalizes the spirit of innovation and camaraderie that defined Group B rallying. As enthusiasts look back on this era with reverence, its impact continues to resonate, shaping the future of motorsport for generations to come.

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