– 2018 Shrine Retrospective

MESSAGE FROM THE WEBSITE OWNER

Greetings to all Group B rally fans! I am happy to announce that 2018 was, early on, very productive to the Shrine’s mission to help preserve Group B’s much loved history with the publication of two articles in well-respected automotive magazines. The Shrine also expanded its human resources with new team members to help with its mission. All work is on a voluntary basis, meaning that we are often entangled in other commitments, such as career and family, but you can expect the Shrine to continue soldiering on in 2019.

With the number of spectators reaching the 500,000 milestone at the last day of 2018, I would like to extend my best wishes to all and may the legend of Group B continue to live on!

Jay Auger
Rally Group B Shrine owner, chief editor, author


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2018 RETROSPECTIVE

The year started out rather mundane, with the focus on finalising media transfer from the old website, when two Peugeot 205 Turbo 16s, owned by General Motors no less, crossed the auction block at Barrett-Jackson. This simple curiosity quickly turned into a two-month long research project, revealing the entire story of these cars in the process, which turned out to be a very special project started by GM and contracted to Lotus to develop an array of active systems, with one of the Pugs serving as a mule for the 1986 Chevrolet Corvette Indy mid-engine concept car. While delays kept the Indy as a non-functional showpiece, the special systems would find their way into the 1990 C.E.R.V. III – tracing a direct lineage to an eventual mid-engine Corvette. The full story is of course available HERE for those who may have missed it.

The Shrine would like to send (again) its regards to the people who made this amazing story possible; Jonathan Grabowski (who uncovered part of the mystery in 2013), Patrick Peal, Steve Green and Peter Wright (the trio being directly involved with the project at Lotus back in the 1980’s), and lastly “G.H.” (the new owner of the benchmark 205 T16).

The GM Peugeot story attracted the attention of Gordon Cruickshank, chief editor at the legendary Motor Sport Magazine, whom offered the article to be published. After some delays, the little Peugeot mules got their fifteen minutes of fame in the June edition of the magazine. It is of course of great honour for myself personally and to the Shrine to having contributed to such a well-respected publication. Back issues are available HERE.

The Rally Group B Shrine also received a request by renowned Octane Magazine to take part in their Group B-special. It was an honour to share the story of how Group B missed the mark on its circuit racing aspirations. While the article published in the May issue was heavily abridged, you can find the complete article HERE. Our thanks to Glen Waddington for making this collaboration possible.

On a more personal note, it was a delight to have my very own Group B inspired car project featured in a fan publication, Skyrocket Magazine, thanks to Heath Scotchford and the Scirocco Register. Albeit quite humble and uncanny, the project has huge personal significance and has been literally life-changing. More can be learned about this very special tribute to the 1980’s HERE.

The Shrine is proud to welcome two new additions to its team: Dylan Smit and Sébastien Dussart. Dylan’s dedication to writing similar articles on a very popular automotive blog earned him a spot to use his talents here. Not long after, Dylan got however hung in other commitments which would see him rescind the invitation, but not before contributing the Ferrari 308 GT/M Prototype article. Sébastien, a Group B fan since childhood, was keen on making the Shrine’s work available to his french-speaking peers by translating select articles. Albeit a work in progress that is but in its infancy, you can find a french version of the website by clicking on France’s flag in the website’s menu bar. Merci Sébastien pour tes efforts!


2018 FUN WEBSITE STATS

The year saw yet again an increase in the Rally Group B Shrine’s online popularity, this time by about 25%, also reaching the 500,000 milestone on December 31st. Per the yearly tradition, here’s some stats on the least and most popular Group B-era driver and car based on visitor analytics!

LEAST POPULAR DRIVER (168 views)

Bruno Saby

For the third year in a row, Bruno Saby is the least popular driver of the Group B era, even though the 1986 Tour de Corse winner saw a 68% increase in page views. You can bet that, when completed, the french version of the website might change this…

MOST POPULAR DRIVER (1,988 views)

Michèle Mouton

The first lady of rallying scores a hat-trick by winning three years in a row, not to mention also doubling her auditoire over last year. Women all over the world should be proud of Michèle Mouton‘s exploits, the latter proving that gender knows no limitations. Group B was and remains strongly tied with the fastest woman in rally history.

LEAST POPULAR CAR (762 views)

FSO Polonez 2000 Rally

There’s yet again no apparent love for the boxy Polonez 2000 Rally, losing out two years in a row. In an alternate version of the universe, you might not have found the same result if FSO would have built a Group B car in the lines of the Stratopolonez.

MOST POPULAR CAR (5,899 views)

Audi Sport quattro S1 / E2

Last year’s winner, Toyota’s fearsome MR2 222D Group S prototype, was edged-out by the unarguable poster-child of Group B: the Audi Sport quattro S1 / E2. It was the closest finish of all the yearly tallies with the Audi Sport S1 / E2, Toyota MR2 222D, Audi Sport “Gruppe S”, and Audi Sport quattro Pikes Peak all within a margin of 400 page views.

MOST POPULAR WALLPAPER (641 downloads)

Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2

Once more, the Audi Sport quattro S1 E2 remains king of the wallpapers. In fact, the car yet again occupies the first three spots of all downloads. The day when Audi will be dethroned as the poster child of Group B is certainly not soon to pass.

COUNTRY WITH THE MOST VISITORS (41,480 views)

The USA once again edged out the UK, this time by about only 500 page views, thanks to a last minute boost by a well-known automotive social media platform.

A quick recap of the yearly stats seem to indicate that a pattern is emerging. Will it continue in 2019 or will the trends change? Come back in a year to find out!