Rallycross entered a boom period 25 years ago. Group B cars arrived en masse and, for the next six years, would dominate the sport. These monsters, exiled from rallying after a spate of accidents became faster, lighter and more powerful as, in rallycross, they found their ultimate form. It’s true that every cloud has a silver lining, for Rallycross the cloud over rallying didn’t just present an opportunity but opened a golden era, perhaps the best years the sport has ever known. To mark that anniversary RallycrossWorld will look back at the 1987 season in parallel with the 2012 European Rallycross Championship.
Matti Alamäki gained his first Lancia win in Spain. © Tim Whittington/RallycrossWorld.com
The influx of Group B cars meant that there was already plenty of new stuff in the 1987 ERC, but round four was also new and different; for the first time ever the championship visited Spain and new track at Sils, 25km sourth of Girona and about 20km inland from Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava. The distance to the new venue deterred some Scandinavian racers from making the trip. Notable among the absentees were RS200 men Mikael Nordström and Rolf Nilsson. Martin Schanche, did make the trip with his RS200, but was out of the event after Saturday’s free practice in which a camshaft broke in the Ford’s BDT’E’ engine.
The early pace among the ‘Supercar’ field was set by Jukka Pelttari who was helped to fastest in his Porsche when Will Gollop lost time in a huge two-wheeled moment in his MG Metro 6R4. Unbeaten so far in the championship, Seppo Niittymäki was third fastest but ran into the first problems of the year in the second heat when gearbox problems left him at tail end of the order and led to him missing the third heat. The result of that was a starting place in C final, in which he failed to beat Thor Holm who took the win in his RS200 before climbing to second in the B final, which was won by the similar car of Pekka Rantanen, the Finn passing Sven Lestander when the Swede’s Sport Quattro S1 faltered in the third lap.
The first three events had been difficult for Matti Alamäki but the Finn showed up in Spain in a determined mood and, having tried his Lancia Delta S4 on Pirelli tyres in the first and second heats, reverted to Avons for the third in which he set fastest time. Olle Arnesson had been fastest in the second heat with his Audi Sport Quattro S1 and the pair led the A final grid. Alamäki led the final from the start, Arnesson powerless to make any serious challenge to the Lancia driver and having to keep a watching eye on his mirror where Gollop appeared large having climbed to third ahead of Anders Carlsson’s Quattro Sport S1, Rantanen and Pelttari.
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