Rally culture is what keeps our engines racing and our blood pumping here at Pure Rally. Without the global success of the World Rally Championship, it’s arguable that we wouldn’t be here today bringing you these awesome rally events across the UK. We fancied indulging in a bit of retrospective appreciation, so here’s a brief history of the WRC…
Founded in 1973, before the first official WRC rally culture had been a niche sideline to more mainstream racing pursuits. The earliest noted rally event is believed to have taken place in 1911 in Monte Carlo as a leisurely test of driving prowess – there was no set route or award, just pure rally pleasure. By the time the swinging 60s’ rolled around, people were starting to see the competitive potential in rally driving; in part due to the progression in car technology. The 60s is notable for the birth of European Rally Championships and international events such as the Safari rally which remains in practice today.
In 1973, the FIA launched the 13 event manufacturers WRC across Monaco, Sweden, Portugal, Kenya, Morocco, Greece, Poland, Finland, Austria, Italy, United States, UK and France. The rally included familiar trials such as pure tarmac, ice, and snow with a diverse range of vehicles. The winning car came from French manufacturer Alpine-Renault with their suave A110 sports model. Despite not being designed for specific rally purposes, the car clearly performed well enough to outclass competitors.
In 1974, 75 and 76 the Lancia Stratos HF won which had been designed with specific rally attributes in mind. 1979 finally saw the drivers’ world championship introduced to WRC with Björn Waldegård from Sweden taking the winning spot.
WRC today is a massive cultural landmark in racing and thanks to the introduction of 1997s World Rally Car regulations all rally cars are now built to specification according to the FIA.