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The Sunny marked the start of a new era as well as the last rally project for Nissan. Actually, the Sunny GTI-R was followed by the Sunny GTI an the Almera GTI, but both of these were F2 machines rather than cars designed for outright victories. The Sunny GTI-R indeed was Nissan's last and very serious attempt to win World titles.
Indeed Nissan's fortunes of recent years didn't change a great deal with the Sunny GTI-R. Nissan's last two projects, the groupB Silvia 240RS & groupA Silvia 200SX were not outstandingly reliable, but considering these were normally aspirated RWD cars when turbo 4x4 was very much the theme everywhere else, these Silvias actually performed very well indeed. With the Sunny GTI-R, Nissan changed two major aspects of their rally program.
For a start for the first time Nissan had a turbo 4x4 rally car. Further, professional navigator Dave Whittock was entrusted with managing the program. Dave built a new team base in Didcot, England especially for Nissan and called the new operation NME = Nissan Motorsport Europe. Until now Nissan was the only Japanese manufacturer that ran their rally programs as a proper works team, operating straight from their factories in Tokyo.
One aspect that didn't change is that Nissan's favourite event was still the Safari. Surprisingly Nissan's first rally car that was not designed with the Safari in mind, debuted exactly there: Safari 1991 - and proved it was a sprint car more than a Safari one. They finished 5th and 7th on this Safari. Funny enough, with the exception of Stig Blomqvist's 3rd in Sweden 1992, this should stay the Sunny GTI-R's best result! Why?
Once more the car was not the most reliable. However it hardly got a chance to prove that point. After only 1 1/2 seasons the project was called off. But its worst problem was performance. This was linked to an intercooler that on the road car strangely was placed at the rear of the engine bay, above the exhaust manifold. Hmm, if you were to design a car, where would you place a "cooler"? Nissan put it into the hottest place they could find under the bonnet and subsequently the item was nick named "interwarmer"! And because this was groupA, NME was not allowed to re-locate the intercooler from its standard position. All types of tricks had been applied, the Sunny drove with the full lamp pod mounted all day as this would direct more air onto the radiator grill. Occasionally even the rally signs were fitted half covering the bonnet air ducts and bent upwards to direct more air into the air ducts. Nothing would help. In fact, Nissan might even have been better off getting rid of the "interwarmer" altogether, but this as well was not allowed in groupA.
Indeed, had we then had the WRCar regulations that allow more freedom with items as coolers, you could bet the Sunny GTI-R would have performed much, much better than it did. On the other hand isn't it nice that groupA had the potential to show up design errors to engineers as well as the potential customers, such in turn giving more reward should your design succeed? But that's Asians for you. OK, not all Nissans were bad, but this really was a stupid piece of engineering, how could they make such a stupid mistake. Good the rally results punished them, shame some customers still bought it without knowing of this major design flaw.
Model & Evo. (Activity)
|Sunny (Pulsar) GTI-R (91-93)||300/6400||350/4800||3975.1690.1400||1140 (3.8)||4x4 (2430)|
Sorry, there are no photos.
This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.
|7th.||1992 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo||F. Chatriot||M. Perin||#8||[UNKNOWN]||7:10:47|
|9th.||1992 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo||T. Mäkinen||S. Harjanne||#12||[UNKNOWN]||7:12:58|
|3rd.||1992 WRC Swedish Rally||S. Blomqvist||B. Melander||#6||[UNKNOWN]||5:26:09|
|6th.||1992 WRC Rallye de Portugal||F. Chatriot||M. Perin||#11||[UNKNOWN]||6:45:41|
|8th.||1992 WRC Rally of Great Britain||T. Mäkinen||S. Harjanne||#5||[UNKNOWN]||5:35:07|
|5th.||1991 WRC Safari Rally||S. Blomqvist||B. Melander||#5||[UNKNOWN]||5:17:24|
|7th.||1991 WRC Safari Rally||M. Kirkland||S. Thatthi||#9||[UNKNOWN]||6:04:35|
|9th.||1991 WRC Acropolis Rally||D. Llewellin||P. Diekmann||#18||[UNKNOWN]||7:50:45|
|8th.||1991 WRC Rally of Finland||S. Blomqvist||B. Melander||#11||[UNKNOWN]||4:24:16|
|10th.||1991 WRC Rally of Finland||D. Llewellin||P. Diekmann||#15||[UNKNOWN]||4:30:13|
This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.
|Ret.||1992 WRC Rally of Great Britain||S. Blomqvist||B. Melander||#12||[UNKNOWN]||SS27 crash|
|Ret.||1992 WRC Rally of Finland||T. Mäkinen||S. Harjanne||#7||[UNKNOWN]||SS10 transmission|
|Ret.||1992 WRC Rally of Finland||S. Blomqvist||B. Melander||#10||[UNKNOWN]||SS16 engine|
|Ret.||1992 WRC Rallye de Portugal||T. Mäkinen||S. Harjanne||#8||[UNKNOWN]||SS4 crash|
|Ret.||1991 WRC Rally of Great Britain||D. Llewellin||P. Diekmann||#22||[UNKNOWN]||SS17 electrics|
|Ret.||1991 WRC Rally of Great Britain||S. Blomqvist||B. Melander||#12||[UNKNOWN]||SS28 suspension|
|Ret.||1991 WRC Acropolis Rally||S. Blomqvist||B. Melander||#9||[UNKNOWN]||SS38 engine|
|Ret.||1991 WRC Safari Rally||D. Llewellin||P. Diekmann||#11||[UNKNOWN]||SS11 road crash (not his fault)|