A successful 5 years in Group A
Lancia Delta was introduced as the new 1.3 to 1.5L FF small family car at the 1979 Frankfurt Motor Show. The world went into an oil crisis as an effect of the Yom Kippur war. As the same time, the Volkswagen Golf became a big hit. As a result, every car maker in the world looked into the small family car category. The Lancia Delta was one of the productions from the time.
Lancia announced in 1986 their Delta HF 4WD. It had a fulltime 4WD and 2L turbo, which was powered by a viscous coupling unit integrated into the center differential. It was decided that from 1987, the WRC will use Group A cars instead of Group B. At the start of the Group A era, the only manufacturers able to compete with turbo 4WD rally cars at Monte Carlo, the first race of the season, were Mazda (Familia), Subaru (Leone), Audi (200 Quattro) and Lancia (Delta).
Martini Racing, Lancia’s factory team, entered four Delta into the 1987 Monte Carlo. The drivers were Juha Kankkunen, Timo Salonen, Miki Biasion, who all were experienced champions, and Bruno Saby, who was a specialist of Monte Carlo. Back then, in order for the machine to go through the vehicle check, the annual auto production volume had to be over 5000 cars. Lancia was not able to clear that condition. However, they negotiated with the FIA that “they will mark the needed numbers by February” so they were able to race the round. Kankkunen started off with a lead, but the team ordered him to give Biasion the lead. Kankkunen moved aside, giving Delta’s first win to Biasion. Delta’s second win went to Markku Alen. During the 1987 season, Lancia managed to win 9 rounds. They were awarded the Manufacturers’ Championship Title. The Drivers’ Championship Title went to Kankkunen.
1988 was another great year for Lancia. In Portugal, they introduced the “Integrale”. With the help of this improvement, the team was able to get 10 wins during the season. In Portugal, Argentina and Sanremo, they dominated first to third place, and in Acropolis first to fourth place. They also won the Safari Rally, which Lancia had been wanting to accomplish for a long time. The Drivers’ Championship went to Biasion, and Lancia was awarded the Manufacturers’ Title two years in a row.
1989 was thought to be another good year for Lancia, but Japanese manufacturers started to rise this year. In Sweden and New Zealand, the Mazda 323 won. In the 1000 Lakes Rally and RAC, the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 won, and in Australia the Toyota Celica GT-FOUR ST165 won. Even with these rivals, Lancia managed to take home the Drivers’ Championship Title with Biasion, and the Manufacturers’ Championship Title as well.
In 1990, Lancia won Monte Carlo and Portugal. However, Toyota won Safari after that. Then Lancia won Tour de Course, but Toyota won Acropolis and New Zealand. In the 1000 Lakes Rally, the Spanish driver Carlos Sainz won with a Celica. Lancia managed to still keep the Manufacturers’ Championship Title, but the gap between Toyota was only six points. The Drivers’ Championship Title was handed over to Sainz.
There was a big difference between the Delta that was developed in the 70’s and the Celica GT-FOUR ST165 that was developed in the 80’s. Other Japanese makers were also getting ready to change their machines. Mitsubishi from Galant VR-4 into Lancer Evolution and Subaru from Legacy to Impreza.
Even then, Lancia won the 1991 Safari, Acropolis, 1000 Lakes, Australia and Sanremo. This was thanks to the team’s machine improvement but also because Toyota lost wins due to Sainz and his accidents. Kankkunen won the Driver’s Championship Title, and Lancia again got the Manufacturers’ Championship Title.
In 1992, they introduced the HF Integrale named “Evoluzione”. That year’s team management was changed from Lancia to Jolly Club. The drivers were the same as the previous year: Auroil and Kankkunen. Biasion who raced with Lancia for a long time, made a switch to Ford. Toyota changed its car to a GT-FOUR ST185 and claimed their first win at the Safari Rally. However, Toyota struggled in Acropolis and Lancia kept their points up while Toyota had a hard time. In the latter half of the season, Celica won Catalunya and RAC, but the Manufacturers’ Title went to Lancia. The Drivers’ Title went to Sainz of Toyota, despite Auriol winning six rounds. Lancia finished their contract with Jolly Club. This is how in 1992, Lancia ended their factory racing. However, Sainz left Toyota due to sponsorship issues. It was decided that Sainz would join Lancia for the 1993 season to compete again in the WRC. However, Delta wasn’t successful in the following races. After Lancia’s withdrawal, Ford became the rival of Japanese manufacturers in the WRC.
Results of Lancia Delta
|1987||Rallye de Monte-Carlo||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta HF 4WD|
|1987||Rallye de Portugal||M.Alén||I.Kivimäki||Lancia Delta HF 4WD|
|1987||Acropolis Rally||M.Alén||I.Kivimäki||Lancia Delta HF 4WD|
|1987||Olympus Rally||J.Kankkunen||J.Piironen||Lancia Delta HF 4WD|
|1987||Rally of New Zealand||F.Wittmann||J.Pattermann||Lancia Delta HF 4WD|
|1987||Rally of Argentina||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta HF 4WD|
|1987||1000 Lakes Rally||M.Alén||I.Kivimäki||Lancia Delta HF 4WD|
|1987||Rallye Sanremo||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta HF 4WD|
|1987||RAC Rally||J.Kankkunen||J.Piironen||Lancia Delta HF 4WD|
|1988||Rallye de Monte-Carlo||B.Saby||J-F.Fauchille||Lancia Delta HF 4WD|
|1988||Swedish Rally||M.Alén||I.Kivimäki||Lancia Delta HF 4WD|
|1988||Rallye de Portugal||M.Biasion||C.Cassina||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1988||Safari Rally||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1988||Acropolis Rally||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1988||Olympus Rally||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1988||Rally of Argentina||J.Recalde||J.Del Buono||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1988||1000 Lakes Rally||M.Alén||I.Kivimäki||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1988||Rallye Sanremo||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1988||RAC Rally||M.Alén||I.Kivimäki||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1989||Rallye de Monte-Carlo||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1989||Rallye de Portugal||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1989||Safari Rally||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1989||Tour de Corse||D.Auriol||B.Occelli||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1989||Acropolis Rally||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1989||Rally of Argentina||M.Ericsson||C.Billstam||Lancia Delta Integrale|
|1989||Rallye Sanremo||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1990||Rallye de Monte-Carlo||D.Auriol||B.Occelli||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1990||Rallye de Portugal||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1990||Tour de Corse||D.Auriol||B.Occelli||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1990||Rally of Argentina||M.Biasion||T.Siviero||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1990||Rally Australia||J.Kankkunen||J.Piironen||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1990||Rallye Sanremo||D.Auriol||B.Occelli||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1991||Safari Rally||J.Kankkunen||J.Piironen||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1991||Acropolis Rally||J.Kankkunen||J.Piironen||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1991||1000 Lakes Rally||J.Kankkunen||J.Piironen||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1991||Rally Australia||J.Kankkunen||J.Piironen||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1991||Rallye Sanremo||D.Auriol||B.Occelli||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1991||RAC Rally||J.Kankkunen||J.Piironen||Lancia Delta Integrale 16V|
|1992||Rallye de Monte-Carlo||D.Auriol||B.Occelli||Lancia Delta HF Integrale|
|1992||Rallye de Portugal||J.Kankkunen||J.Piironen||Lancia Delta HF Integrale|
|1992||Tour de Corse||D.Auriol||B.Occelli||Lancia Delta HF Integrale|
|1992||Acropolis Rally||D.Auriol||B.Occelli||Lancia Delta HF Integrale|
|1992||Rally of Argentina||D.Auriol||B.Occelli||Lancia Delta HF Integrale|
|1992||1000 Lakes Rally||D.Auriol||B.Occelli||Lancia Delta HF Integrale|
|1992||Rally Australia||D.Auriol||B.Occelli||Lancia Delta HF Integrale|
|1992||Rallye Sanremo||A.Aghini||S.Farnocchia||Lancia Delta HF Integrale|