Lancia Delta Profile

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Lancia Delta General Information

The Lancia Delta S4 certainly made the 1986 season more interesting. Although Peugeot still claimed both titles that season, thanks to Lancia it wasn’t quite as easy a walk over as 1985 has been. But the Lancia Delta S4 had more than its fair share of bad moments.

The story already started with the debut of the car. When Lancia launched the heavily modified Evo version of the Rally 037 with the start of 1984 and failed to improve the success story of the original Rally 037, it became clear to Lancia that the very different Audi concept was better. They desperately needed a 4x4 groupB car and frantically started to work on project 038, the Delta S4. The car’s debut was promised to their drivers several times during 1985, but initial dates as 1000 Lakes (Finland) and Rallye San Remo passed without the new car, very much to the frustration of Markku Alen and Henri Toivonen. When the Delta S4 eventually debuted on the RAC 1985, it still looked very much like an unfinished project. The car actually succeeded already on its WRC debut event, but how this happened raised more questions than answers about its competitiveness. The car had masses of engine and electrical problems which kept slowing it down, at no point during the event it really looked a threat to Peugeot and even Audi and as the event went on, one could consider Lancia lucky they stayed ahead of the MG Metro 6R4. The odd stage win was there already in the early stages, but the consistency was appalling and the way to debut victory was only free when curiously all works Peugeots and all works Audis retired! Many Lancia fans would argue that point. But even after Peugeot and Audi retirements, the debuting Delta only won the RAC 1985 exactly 2m27s ahead of Tony Pond's MG Metro 6R4, and that only after Pond was heavily delayed with transmission problems on the last day, and the Metro later certainly did not turn out to be the cream of groupB cars. Adding insult to all that is the fact that the car was already rallied before its WRC debut, mainly Markku Alen was found taking the Delta S4 out to "test" events as Acores and Sardegna beforehand.

With the start of 1986 the car looked far more complete and Henri Toivonen won the Monte Carlo in convincing style: Despite a road accident delay he beat favourite Peugeot with Timo Salonen by 4min! Henri Toivonen put on such a brilliant show, it looked very much as if 1986 was going to be his year. But ironically Henri often claimed that he didn’t like the car, it was tricky to handle and felt fragile at times, although none of this reflected in his stage times. Disaster however struck at the Tour de Corse 1986, an accident claiming the lifes of Henri Toivonen and his navigator Sergio Cresto. The accident was really freak as it happened at a moment when Henri was in a comfortable lead and in one of the most harmless and untypical stretches of the whole rally, they basically went off into a field of bushes. You could have found worse spots to go off on absolutely any rally! This, the fact that there were no brake or skid marks as well as the fact that there was no really big impact but the crew was killed by a fire blaze, lead to considerations if the composite materials based Delta S4 having the fuel tanks under the seats without real protection was to blame for the crash. This can never be confirmed for sure, fact however is that this incident lead to massive changes within the sport and left a huge gap within the Lancia team.

Away from this, the car had one rather clever and unique detail. While it was a mid engined 4x4 car, its novelty was that the engine combined a turbo with a supercharger. The turbo is clearly the more efficient tool at revs as it runs independent to the engine and using waste energy to create boost - but the same aspect means the turbo has a lag at low revs. This Lancia tried to overcome with a Rootes compressor, being mechanically driven by the engine would do a similar job to a turbo but its efficiency would be in the lower revs - but the mechanical connection to the engine means it even hinders the engine at high revs. Lancia created a complicated system that would switch the engine induction from the supercharger over to the turbo at certain revs, such using the advantages of both systems without having the negative aspects of either.

By the Rally NZ 1986, about mid season, Lancia’s sporting director Cesare Fiorio admitted that “We have no answer to Peugeot’s reliability” and indeed Peugeot claimed their makes title only 2 events later, but not without newcomer Massimo Biasion leading a dominant Lancia 1-2 in Argentina first. The car may have had its issues and bad luck, but if it wasn’t for the groupB ban, 1987 would have been an interesting and tough battle between Lancia and Peugeot.

Interesting as well that Lancia also already worked towards the originally promised groupB replacement, the groupS: a prototype called ECV that looked very similar to the Delta S4 was basically ready.

Lancia Delta Related Content

Lancia Delta Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Lancia Delta S4 (85-86) 450/8000 400/5000 3990.1880.1400 890 (2) 4x4 (2440)

Random Lancia Delta Photos

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Lancia Delta Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
1st. 1986 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo H. Toivonen S. Cresto #7 [UNKNOWN] 10:11:24
2nd. 1986 WRC Swedish Rally M. Alen I. Kivimäki #3 [UNKNOWN] 5:11:13
2nd. 1986 WRC Acropolis Rally M. Biasion T. Siviero #8 [UNKNOWN] 7:21:38
2nd. 1986 WRC Rally New Zealand M. Alen I. Kivimäki #2 [UNKNOWN] 5:45:25
3rd. 1986 WRC Rally New Zealand M. Biasion T. Siviero #4 [UNKNOWN] 5:53:36
4th. 1986 WRC Rally New Zealand M. Ericsson C. Billstam #6 [UNKNOWN] 5:56:37
1st. 1986 WRC Rally Argentina M. Biasion T. Siviero #5 [UNKNOWN] 6:36:26
2nd. 1986 WRC Rally Argentina M. Alen I. Kivimäki #3 [UNKNOWN] 6:36:50
4th. 1986 WRC Rally Argentina J. Recalde J. del Buono #6 [UNKNOWN] 6:41:33
3rd. 1986 WRC Rally of Finland M. Alen I. Kivimäki #2 [UNKNOWN] 3:34:30
5th. 1986 WRC Rally of Finland M. Ericsson C. Billstam #7 [UNKNOWN] 3:41:11
6th. 1986 WRC Rally of Finland K. Grundel B. Melander #4 [UNKNOWN] 3:42:35
2nd. 1986 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Alen I. Kivimäki #3 [UNKNOWN] 5:22:33
1st. 1986 WRC USA Olympus Rally M. Alen I. Kivimäki #2 [UNKNOWN] 5:26:10
6th. 1986 WRC USA Olympus Rally P. Alessandrini A. Alessandrini #11 [UNKNOWN] 6:01:55
1st. 1985 WRC Rally of Great Britain H. Toivonen N. Wilson #6 [UNKNOWN] 9:32:05
2nd. 1985 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Alen I. Kivimäki #3 [UNKNOWN] 9:33:01

Lancia Delta Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 1986 WRC Rally of Great Britain M. Ericsson C. Billstam #9 [UNKNOWN] SS44 engine
Ret. 1986 WRC Rallye San Remo D. Cerrato G. Cerri #8 [UNKNOWN] SS99 event disqualified from WRC - 2nd
Ret. 1986 WRC Rallye San Remo F. Tabaton L. Tedeshini #7 [UNKNOWN] SS6 withdrawn
Ret. 1986 WRC Rallye San Remo M. Alen I. Kivimäki #2 [UNKNOWN] SS99 event disqualified from WRC - 1st
Ret. 1986 WRC Rallye San Remo M. Biasion T. Siviero #5 [UNKNOWN] SS99 event disqualified from WRC - 3rd
Ret. 1986 WRC Acropolis Rally M. Ericsson C. Billstam #11 [UNKNOWN] SS18 suspension
Ret. 1986 WRC Acropolis Rally M. Alen I. Kivimäki #3 [UNKNOWN] SS44 engine
Ret. 1986 WRC Tour de Corse H. Toivonen S. Cresto #4 [UNKNOWN] SS17 crash
Ret. 1986 WRC Tour de Corse M. Alen I. Kivimäki #1 [UNKNOWN] SS17 withdrawn - after Toivonen crash
Ret. 1986 WRC Tour de Corse M. Biasion T. Siviero #6 [UNKNOWN] SS17 withdrawn - after Toivonen crash
Ret. 1986 WRC Rallye de Portugal H. Toivonen S. Cresto #8 [UNKNOWN] SS3 boycott
Ret. 1986 WRC Rallye de Portugal M. Alen I. Kivimäki #2 [UNKNOWN] SS3 boycott
Ret. 1986 WRC Rallye de Portugal M. Biasion T. Siviero #5 [UNKNOWN] SS3 boycott
Ret. 1986 WRC Swedish Rally H. Toivonen S. Cresto #5 [UNKNOWN] SS13 engine
Ret. 1986 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo M. Alen I. Kivimäki #3 [UNKNOWN] SS17 engine
Ret. 1986 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo M. Biasion T. Siviero #9 [UNKNOWN] SS26 crash