MESSAGE FROM THE WEBSITE OWNER
Greetings to all Group B rally fans! Some of you might have noticed that there were no website news posted between today and last year’s retrospective. This unfortunately meant that the Shrine’s small team of volunteers and I were very entangled in other commitments, such as career and family, to make any substantial additions to the website. Small changes made in the year however incorporate a new condensed main menu with related drop-down options for a cleaner and quicker look through the website’s vast content. It is with hope that 2020 will bring better fortunes to expand the encyclopedia.
It is however of note to mention that 2019 saw the publication of the amazing book Traction For Sale: The Story of Ferguson Formula Four-Wheel Drive, by Bill Munro – a friend and fellow author. Bill and I exchanged much information which led to uncovering more on the history of one of the company’s little known prototype contracts: the Opel Manta B 400 4×4. The car and information taken directly from the Shrine is featured in Part Three, Chapter 15 – Group B: a Revolution in Rallying. It is with much pride to having contributed to such an amazing book – thanks Bill, and all the best to your success!
I would also like to extend my best wishes to all Group B fans and anyone that is involved in keeping its vast history documented – may the legend of Group B continue to live on!
Rally Group B Shrine owner, chief editor, main author
QUICK BROWSE CONTENT
Yet again the main event of 2019 was to be focused on the unique one-off Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, chassis #091, that was heavily modified by Lotus in the mid-1980s for General Motors. A fascinating story that was fully brought to light by the arduous research of Jay Auger, the Shrine’s owner, with a string of back-and-forth interviews with the main Lotus engineers involved in the project. For the full history that was also published in the June 2018 of Motor Sport Magazine – CLICK HERE.
In April of 2019, a representative for the Hadjopulos Collection, whom purchased the Lotus systems car at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction in January 2018, contacted the Shrine to get more information on its provenance – ignoring most of the car’s Lotus background! The Shrine’s published story then quickly changed the Pug’s fate as a simple “quick flip” to a project of restoring all of its active systems to working glory.
The Shrine’s owner thus immediately went hard at work by contacting the former Lotus engineers involved in the project back in the 1980’s; all were keen to the idea of a restoration. However, untimely delays made for a difficult time-table to set things up between all of the parties. The subsequent loss of the initial excitement unfortunately made Mr. Hadjopulos backtrack and the restoration project abandoned. The unique Peugeot is once again being scheduled to be put up at auction in January 2020 on Bring-A-Trailer. We do invite everyone to watch this auction as it becomes online.
Rest assured that the Rally Group B Shrine will remain vigilant and will make certain that potential buyers get the correct facts and know of the open opportunity to get the car’s special systems restored by their former Lotus creators. It is, after all, the Shrine’s mission to correctly help preserve Group B’s history – this car being one of its best hidden treasures. Stay tuned!
Do not forget that the Shrine needs your support! If you enjoy the website then please consider making a monetary donation or support it through other means. To find out more about the 2020 Fundraiser – please CLICK HERE!
2019 FUN WEBSITE STATS
The year saw an increase in the Rally Group B Shrine’s online popularity by 9.3% – reaching the 750,000 “spectator” milestone near year’s end. 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 (260 views)
For the fourth 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 once more a small increase in page views. The gap however tightens with only 55 views separating Saby from least popular runner-up and compatriot, Jean Ragnotti.
MOST POPULAR DRIVER (2,424 views)
The first lady of rallying wins the crown for the fourth year in a row by a very large margin. Women all over the world should be proud of Michèle Mouton‘s exploits, the latter proving that gender knows no limitations. Group B’s legendary status remains strongly tied with the fastest woman in rally history.
LEAST POPULAR CAR (798 views)
There’s yet again no appreciation for the unassuming Polonez 2000 Rally from the former Eastern Block, losing out three 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 more vicious Group B car in the lines of the Stratopolonez. What a spectacle it could have been sliding around rally stages along the likes of the Talbot Horizon and similar bastardised mid-engine and rear-wheel drive prototypes that never made it to homologation.
MOST POPULAR CAR (8,293 views)
The immortal poster-child of Group B, the Audi Sport quattro S1 / E2, overpowered the competition to clinch the title for the second year in a row – far outgunning the ever fascinating and former popularity winners Audi and Toyota Group S prototypes. It must be mentioned that the Opel Manta B 400 takes the fourth spot, albeit it was a traditional and somewhat mundane Group B car, however remaining a mainstay of today’s historic rallies.
MOST POPULAR WALLPAPER (461 downloads)
Scoring a hat-trick, the Audi Sport quattro E2 remains king of the wallpapers – this exact image retaining the top spot albeit a loss of about a third in downloads. However, a stunning newcomer to the podium, the Lancia Rallye 037, takes the silver medal of all wallpapers!
COUNTRY WITH THE MOST VISITORS (45,472 views)
The United Kingdom retakes its crown from the Americans, this time by a substantial amount in page views. Great Britain has always been a stronghold of rally fandom – from the sport’s inception to today!
Once more it must be noted that the stats indicate analytic patterns that seem to be settling in for the long run, somewhat making these yearly recaps a bit less entertaining. Will 2020 confirm this without a doubt? Do come back in a year to find out!