Fiat has not enjoyed great success in rallycross. Over the years there have been those to try their hand in one of the Italian cars, but it would be fair to say they have never set the world alight. This weekend at Lydden as the Motorsport UK British Rallycross Championship 5 Nations Trophy gets underway, Fiat cars play a key role in moving the series ahead. The new Electro Rallycross series that will run at some British RX events this year uses Fiat 500es prepared by Polish company Elimen Racing, five of the production-based electric cars on-hand at Lydden for the first event.
Poland has form with Fiat cars in rallycross. The one-make series for the tiny Sceicento model has run for many years and produced some drivers who have gone on to greater things, most notably Krzysztof Skorupski. There has also been a Polish series for the even smaller Fiat 126. Ireland also had a one-make Fiat series using the Uno which were plentiful as there had also been a one-make circuit race series for the cars.
Today is too warm for an Anorak so in a not very scientific trawl of the archives, it seems to us that the Fiat X1/9 is perhaps, if not the most successful, then the model that has been most widely used in rallycross. To qualify that, it was adopted by a handful of drivers in Britain and Holland in the 1980s when it’s relatively light constructioin and mid-engined layout must have made it an appealing option to a Porsche.
At a time when the Ford Fiesta was beginning to take over from the Mini as the default front-wheel drive rallycross car the adventurous cast around for alternatives. One such was British racer Norman Foord who used a Fiat Ritmo (or Strada) in UK events in ther early 1980s. Dutchman Bram van de Wege used a Group A version of the car in International events.
Another Dutch racer to choose Fiat was Tineke de Poorter who used her ‘Supercar’ version of the Fiat Coupe in home national events and round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship.
The Fiat 131 became a successful rally car but those who tackled rallycross in it, most notably European Champion Franz Wurz, met with less success. The example below was used in British events in the middle-80s, this is David Cox at the wheel.
The Fiat Uno Turbo popped up here and there as a Group A challenger in the late 1980s. This (not great) picture is Austrian H. Mayerfhofer getting excited at Melk in 1987.
If Fiats are ever going to find their way into rallycross in a meaningful way it should be in Italy. The recent advent of a national championship had seen use of the Grand Punto S2000 rally car so surely only a matter of time before we see an RX3 or RX1 challenger.« Previous Post Next Post »