Although it was launched pretty late by the FIA (International Automobile Federation) – in 1973 – the WRC has grown to become one of the most interesting and captivating racing events on the Planet. The main idea was to create a competition in which usual cars would compete on usual roads. Although they are said to be usual cars, the WRC cars are not easily judged from its cover. The engines is more powerful (around 300bhp) and the cars are built especially for gravel, snow and tarmac surfaces. Also, a WRC car must be built upon a production car with a minimum of 2500 units. The future modifications on it will not be limited, though. Many manufacturers work on increasing engine capacity, adding turbocharger and sequential gearbox, as well as creating aerodynamic appendages.

The first World Rally Championship took off with only 13 events, most of them being in Europe.

April 19 – 23 Safari Rally
August 8 – May 13 Moroccan Rally
May 23 – 28 Acropolis Rally (Greece)
July 12 – 15 Rally Poland
August 3 – 5 Rally of the 1000 Lakes (Finland)
September 12 – 14 Alpine Rally (Austria)
October 10 – 13 Rally San Remo
October 31 – November 4 Press on Regardless Rally (USA)
November 17 – 21 Lombard RAC (Great Britain)
December 1 – 2 Tour de Corse (France)

The first manufacturers to take part in the World Rally Championship were: Renault, Fiat, Ford, Volvo, Saab, Nissan, Citroen and BMW. Renault was the first WRC winner in Manufacturers’ Classification, taking the titles in style with a 63-points advantage over 2nd place Fiat. Ford ranked 3rd overall.

The period of time between 1973 and 1976 lacked a world champion. Manufacturers’ Standings were more important than the individual himself. After Renault’s success the rookie season, Lancia took over and won 3 titles in a row, before WRC started to pay more attention to drivers. Being that the Drivers’ and the Manufacturers’ standings became two total different things, it wasn’t necessary for a Constructor to have a WRC champion, but a winning team, able to put some points on the scoreboard every time they went into the race. It was the case in 1977, when Sandro Munari won the FIA Cup for Driver on a Lancia, but the Manufacturer’s Title went to Fiat. In 1979, the world title for drivers was first introduced. *

* www.autoevolution.com/sport/wrc/history/

FIA World Rally Championship (1972 - 1975)

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