Most of the works drivers of the 1950s were amateurs, paid little or nothing, reimbursed their expenses and given bonuses for winning (although there were certainly exceptions, such as the Grand Prix drivers who were brought in for some events). Then in 1960 came arguably the first rallying superstar (and one of the first to be paid to rally full-time), Sweden's Erik Carlsson, driving for Saab.
Between 1997 and 2010, the regulations mandated that World Rally Cars must have been built upon a production car with a minimum production run of 2500 units. A number of modifications could be made including increasing the engine displacement up to 2.0L, forced induction (including an anti-lag system), addition of four wheel drive, fitment of a sequential gearbox, modified suspension layout and attachment points, aerodynamic body modifications, weight reduction to a minimum of 1230 kg and chassis strengthening for greater rigidity. The maximum width was set at 1770 mm while front and rear tracks shouldn't exceed 1550 mm.
In February 2015, The National Film & Television School in England premiered one of their graduating films called "Group B" directed by ex-rally driver Nick Rowland. The film, set during the last year of the Group B class of rally tells the story of a young driver having to face a difficult comeback after a 'long and troubled absence'. The young driver is played by Scottish actor Richard Madden, and his co-driver played by Northern Irish actor Michael Smiley.
Since then, the nature of the events themselves has evolved relatively slowly. The increasing costs, both of organization and of competing, as well as safety concerns, have, over the last twenty years, brought progressively shorter rallies, shorter stages and the elimination of nighttime running, scornfully referred to as "office hours rallying" by older hands. Some of the older international events have gone, replaced by others from a much wider spread of countries around the world, until today rallying is truly a worldwide sport. At the same time, fields have shrunk dramatically, as the amateur in his near-standard car is squeezed out.
McRae, made his debut on the gruelling Dakar Rally Raid with Nissan in January 2004, and impressed the team by scoring two stage wins on his way to a memorable finish on the gruelling Sahara event. He returned to the Dakar in 2005 and was fastest on two of the first three stages in Morocco, before crashing out of the rally towards the end of stage six.
Continuing his emergence after being converted from last season's two-way contract to a standard NBA deal for next season, Robinson converted four 3-pointers in nearly rallying the Heat from an early 14-point deficit. — Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Heat fall in summer finale in OT despite 26 from Robinson, as draft picks sit," 14 July 2019 Eli Liechty and senior left-hander Tommy Kennedy each had two assists for Newport Harbor, which rallied from a 3-1 deficit early in the second quarter. — Matt Szabo, latimes.com, "Newport Harbor boys’ water polo wins Summer Elite Eight tournament," 13 July 2019 The Rockets had a 3-2 lead over Golden State in the 2018 Western Conference finals when Paul injured a hamstring, and the Warriors rallied to win that series in seven games on the way to the NBA title. — Tim Reynolds, baltimoresun.com, "Thunder trade Russell Westbrook to Rockets for Chris Paul, picks in another NBA blockbuster," 12 July 2019 JaCorey Williams and Phil Booth each had 18 points as the Cavs rallied from a six-point deficit starting the fourth quarter to tie the game at 93 after regulation. — cleveland.com, "Cleveland Cavaliers end Vegas Summer League with 98-96 OT win over Kings," 12 July 2019 About the same time, Rockdale High School won a state football championship, its first since 1976, rallying from a 21-0 deficit in the title game. — Mark Dent, WIRED, "The Hard-Luck Texas Town That Bet on Bitcoin—and Lost," 11 July 2019 The Rockets had a 3-2 lead over the Warriors in the 2018 Western Conference finals when Paul injured a hamstring, and the Warriors rallied to win in seven games on the way to the NBA title. — Tim Reynolds, chicagotribune.com, "Russell Westbrook will reunite with James Harden on the Rockets after the Thunder trade the former MVP for Chris Paul and picks," 11 July 2019 The Rockets had a 3-2 lead over Golden State in the 2018 Western Conference finals when Paul injured a hamstring, and the Warriors rallied to win that series in seven games on the way to the NBA title. — Washington Post, "AP source: Russell Westbrook going to Rockets for Chris Paul," 11 July 2019 Strycova found herself in even more dire circumstances Monday, behind by a set and 5-2 before rallying against Elise Mertens. — Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Serena Williams all 'business' ahead of Wimbledon semifinals," 10 July 2019
In many rallies, including those of the World Rally Championship (WRC), drivers are allowed to run on the stages of the course before competition and create their own pacenotes. This process is called reconnaissance or recce. During reconnaissance, the co-driver writes down shorthand notes (the pacenotes) on how to best drive the stage. Usually the drivers call out the turns and road conditions for the co-drivers to write down. These pacenotes are read aloud through an internal intercom system during the actual race, allowing the driver to anticipate the upcoming terrain and thus take the course as fast as possible.
In an attempt to cut costs, since 2006 new regulations required mechanical front and rear differentials, while the central differential remained active. Active suspension and water injections were also prohibited. Cars entered by a manufacturer had to be equipped with the same engine for two rallies; further limitations were imposed on the changing of some parts, including suspension, steering, turbochargers and gearboxes.
With victory in the Safari Rally in 2002, McRae made the record books as the driver with most event wins in the World Rally Championship. His record has since been broken by Carlos Sainz, Sébastien Loeb and Marcus Grönholm. McRae's contract with Ford came to an end following the 2002 season, and after reportedly asking for wages of five million pounds a year, Ford decided against renewing the contract, reluctant to commit such a high amount of their budget to a driver's salary. The two parties split on amicable terms, with Ford's European director of motorsport Martin Whitaker stating "On behalf of all of us at Ford Motor Company I would like to publicly thank Colin and Nicky for their efforts during the past four years with the Ford team. I wish them both well in the future." McRae said of his time with Ford "It's been a very successful four years, we've achieved a lot of very good results and I'm quite happy that myself and Ford have had a very successful partnership."
Not much is known about the BMW M1 rally car other than the fact that it exists, but that alone warrants inclusion. BMW intended its mid-engined supercar for competition, but not Group B competition. That didn't stop this straight-six masterpiece from entering rallies in the early 80s. Set aside some time to watch some videos of the M1 rally car in action, and thank us later.