ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hailing from Québec, Canada, I’ve been a rallying fan for as long as I can remember and I have the sport to thank for my undeniable love for cars. In my youth, we followed our father, a soldier, to his various assignments around the world. In 1986, one of them gave us the incredible opportunity to be stationed in Germany at the peak of the golden era of rallying. I instantly fell in love with the Group B rally machines; the speed, the power, the looks, the audacity of it all! It was the beginning of a lifetime obsession. Our adventure in Europe was cut short, as was Group B, and in early 1987 we came back to our home country, this time for good. Afterwards, all my attention was directed at Group A and local rally cars that felt more attainable to the average person.
Being a teenager, it was not long after getting my driver’s license that I wanted to emulate my high-flying and fire-spitting heroes. However, being from a rather humble military family, I had to make due with an entry-level Opel Kadett: my father’s old beater. Straight away, I felt a connection with man and machine, mixed with the purity of the country roads. To me, circuit racing seemed artificial, unnatural: I wanted to be within the trees! Sure, my little Kadett was nothing to boast about, but it provided the perfect learning curve for a rallying enthusiast such as myself.
The passion made me purchase a 1988 Mazda 323 GTX with the intentions of one day competing in national-level rallying. I started with a few local amateur rallycross events but I kept getting flat tires for some reason. One day the transmission of the GTX blew up and I had little faith in my ability to fix it up so I sold the car as is. It was a bit of a heartbreak to watch the car roll away on a tow truck.
A bit later on, I managed to find a 1985 Audi quattro turbo coupe, in red to boot! While not a Sport quattro, it was still a true rally icon. The car was in bad shape to start with but I really wanted it. I bought it for way too much money and it ended up breaking down on me about 20 miles after taking possession. Again, I felt that I wasn’t mechanically inclined enough to repair it. That made my father’s job to convince me to return the car much easier. We successfully returned the poor quattro as the previous owner promised he would reimburse me if he could not fix it after a week. He didn’t, so I got my money back, and I never saw the car again. I can proudly, or rather embarrassingly, say that I have owned an Audi quattro for about an hour and a half… and never even had the time to snap a picture! (the following is an example of the car)
This event brought me into a slump and whirlwind of doubts that would last for years. For the rest of the 90’s, my automotive life lied with an awful riced out crap-mobile, mercifully soon replaced by a stock 1990 Mitsubishi Mirage GT sedan. Meanwhile, I could only continue my passion for rallying through volunteering at local events. Maybe letting a few years pass and saving up more money would change things!
In 2001, since things got better for me financially, I bought a Subaru Impreza WRX and then traded it in for an STi in 2003. Each was to be my future, definitive, rally weapon, or so I thought. I had drowned so much money in the purchases I had trouble finding the determination to go forward with the project. Some doubts came over me once more: with this money I could have easily repaired my old cars and started competing. With that, more years crept by as I slowly made headway towards reaching my goal.
One day, it all collapsed: the girl of my dreams was hit with a degenerative disease that melted my wallet back to almost nothing. However, she gave me the courage to keep the car and not give up on my dream. But 25 years had already passed since my original ambitions – my old bones didn’t feel like competing any more! It all made the salvage of the ambition that much simpler: turn my fear of failure into drive and knowledge. Hence, I went out to educate myself on what I needed to know to create the rally car that I wanted, if only now just for fun. In the following decade that ensued, this exceptional journey of hard work and dedication has made me become a self-taught welder (MIG & TIG), fabricator, and bodywork expert. I learned and did everything myself in my home garage.
As my confidence grew, the project went through multiple phases over the years; from a street/track mix to a dedicated rally car. I also was able to sparingly test the car and get back in touch with my driving skills that were left to rot for so long.
The car was awesome and a very good performer considering the very modest budget. My new set of skills also made me an avid “do-it-yourself” person (including around the house) which led me to even fabricate my own trailer to haul the car to the test track!
In a weird twist of fate, now that the project was done, nostalgia kicked down the door: my undying love for the 1980s and Group B suddenly turned everything upside down once more. In what could be called an illogical mid-life crisis, I took the decision to abandon all my previous efforts in favor of building from scratch my own vision (not a replica) of a Group B car – a project that I hope to be able to fully complete by 2020.
All of this nostalgia culminated in a need to further research Group B history for my own enjoyment and culture. Then I noticed that there wasn’t a website dedicated to Group B rallying that was very inclusive of all content; some had information only about the cars, others only about the statistics, and some only carried partial or incomplete information. This led to the creation of my “Rally Group B Shrine” which was originally put up on my personal blog.
Hundreds of hours of my free time was used to research and write all the articles. It soon had become by far the most popular section of my blog which made me realize that it should be its own website. This is where we are now! Alongside my car project, this shrine is now part of the master plan to make me relive my childhood dream of being part of Group B. Do note that the shrine remains an ongoing project in itself. Right now, it is only at a fraction of the level at which I want it to be. It is done in the little free time I have that is not dedicated my career, family, or my car project.
While I do attempt to provide to most factual and correct information possible, due to the rarity of some material related to the Group B period, I always try to corroborate information from a minimum of 3 different sources. My vast collection of Group B related books are my main source of knowledge but I also sometimes have to get it from the internet. In case of disparity, I have no choice but to make assumptions on which information is correct compared to another. As such, some of the written information in this website is based off my personal opinion and judgement.
Although I do wish that I had better credentials to present to you, i.e.; if I was a motorsport journalist or photographer, rally insider, historian, or professional driver, but sadly I am none of those things… As such, I have to say many thanks to the people who are those things because, if not for them, I wouldn’t possess the knowledge that I do and this website would not exist or be as complete; Graham Robson, Mike Moreton, John Davenport, Reinhard Klein, Vittorio Roberti, Luca Gastaldi, Bill Munro, the collective work of Motor Sport Magazine, and Auto Moto and Sport Magazine. My articles will never be as intricate as to what you may find in actual books dedicated to the cars or to Group B: this is where I draw the line. Think of my articles as complex excerpts to push other fans into wanting to know more on their own.
In the end, I am just a fan with an extraordinary amount of passion and devotion who invested hundreds of hours of his time to create a website on his own dime. As such, if you find the website enjoyable and a good source of information, a small personal donation could be much appreciated! The shrine expansion is still ongoing with as much effort as I can possibly put into it.
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Thank you and enjoy the website!