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.
Martin Schanche won at the Eurocircuit, again. © Tim Whittington/RallycrossWorld.com
A week after Arendonk the gang had the short trip to Valkenswaard for the Dutch event on the Eurocircuit where the story looked familiar. Seppo Niittymäki was again on pole for the A final, this time the Finn setting fastest times in the first and third heats, his run interrupted by Martin Schanche who, on his home from home, set fastest time in the second heat.
Rolf Nilsson had equipped his RS200 with the bigger capacity ‘E’ motor for the first time in the week between events and was fast during the mixed weather of the first day bjut unable to match the very quickest when things dried out and got hot on Sunday.The Swede found himself in the C final where he worked Terje Schie’s Xtrac Escort hard before a broken propshaft ended his event. It was another Xtrac driver, John Welch who won the B final to join the main event, Welch having crashed out of the Belgian event but returning here with the car beautiful as ever, but unfortunately prone to spontaneous combustion as the lingering effects of the crash were chased away. Will Gollop ended his run in the B final, gearbox failure halting the fastest of the Metro 6R4s mid race.
Schanche again won the drag race to turn one at the start of the A final, Olle Arnesson then running down the outside to snatch second place and ease Niittymäki back to third. Matti Alamäki ran fourth in the first lap but had been given the hurry up by Thor Holm who mashed the front of his RS200 against the back of the Lancia. Getting the message, Alamäki displaced Niittymäki to take third, the Peugeot driver trying hard to regain the place but unable to find his way past his compatriot.
Arnesson was never really close enough to give Schanche a proper race and the Benelux events appeared to have signalled a change in fortune for the Norwegian Ford driver, and a timely one at that with his home event at Drammen next up on the schedule.
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