Lancia Killed Its Successful Road Racer in the Name of Rallying
In 1972 something wonderful— nay, magical – happened. A Lancia won the International Championship for Manufacturers in rallying (this was before the WRC was formed). With that win, it rejuvenated Lancia’s racing career and produced world-renowned cars like the Delta and the Stratos. But there is one Lancia that often tends to get overlooked, and it shouldn’t be: the Montecarlo Turbo. Unlike the Delta or the Stratos, the Montecarlo wasn’t built for the rally course (at first). It was built for the asphalt. RELATED: See More Photos of the Lancia Montecarlo Turbo Racer
In 1979, 1980 and 1981, it took home the Group 5 FIA world championship, along with a first place prize in the Rennsport Meisterschaft championship in 1980. It looked like Lancia had a serious road racer on its hands to go along with all that rally success. But, out of nowhere, in 1981, Lancia decided to ditch road racing altogether.
Getting rid of the Beta nameplate on which the Montecarlo was based, this Group 5 winning racer would give way to the infamous 037. Another rally car. Rallying just seemed to be in Lancia’s blood.
RELATED: See Photos of the Lancia Stratos Rally Car
At this point, the Montecarlo, along with Lancia’s track career, was essentially dead. And after a championship win or two in the 037, so was Lancia’s rally career. It was a sad ending for a program that had proven to be such a success. But even sadder for the Montecarlo Turbo, a car seemingly lost in racing history.
RELATED: See Photos of the Lancia Delta Rally Car
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