1974 WRC Season Commentary

1974 WRC Summary by Chris Biewer :

First to the selection of events. After 1973 it was no big surprise that Alpine (the rally, not the car) and Poland had been dropped from the calendar. More unusual however in modern discussions that in 1974 for the only time ever we had 2 Northern American events included, however both poorly supported by public, media and organisers.

Only best 6 results score in this slimmed season.

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2nd WRC season and 2nd WRC crisis. This crisis is far worse than the 1973 Alpine Rallye dilemma. It is with the exception of 1986 the worst crisis to hit the WRC to date. Tho it is not a crisis the sport or its organisers can be blamed for.

In late 1973 Europe is hit by a massive oil crisis. The crisis is so severe, that in many European countries there is a driving ban on Sundays for the normal public and fuel is only sold on limited permission cards.

For the WRC in 1974 this leads to the cancellation of 3 events: Monte Carlo, Sweden & Acropolis. Other rallies had to be delayed. This again leads to a rather weird calendar. After the first two rounds were cancelled, enthusiastic Portugal and Kenya/Safari went ahead as scheduled. But then the championship was on hold for 4 months! Round 3 was only in August. Not only were there just 8 rounds in this season, 5 of these rounds were held within only 2 months, in October and November!

In all this it maybe was even positive that we only lost one works team. But it was a big loss. BMW, who won the Rallye Portugal 1972 and the Alpine Rallye 1973, was working flat out on a revolutionary turbo engine, and they had serious plans to rally it! Sadly the efficient turbo technology was ready for the road in the BMW 2002turbo the very moment the oil crisis started. It was the worst time to launch such a powerful car. Therefore the car couldn't sell and in rally terms we also had to wait another 5 years for the 1st turbo car and the 1st turbo victory.

The title battle itself, although essentially again Renault-Alpine vs Fiat/Lancia, turned into a most interesting contrast to the previous season. 1973 dominators Renault only got one single win, and even that was a big surprise, because Jean-Luc Thérier won the US Press on Regardless Rally not in an Alpine but an R17 Gordini, the only victory for this model! For 1974 Lancia introduces sponsorship to the WRC and the Marlboro sponsored team won the title using 3 different models of cars in that short season: Starting the season with the old Fulvia, the Stratos won 3 events and the Beta Coupé also added important points. For the drivers it seems like no major news for the moment. Shekhar Mehta supports Lancia's title bit. Markku Alen is new to Fiat, which is to become the maybe most loyal driver/team partnership in rally history!
 

1974 WRC Factory Team and Driver Line Ups :
 

Lancia Lancia, 1974 - Lancia Abarth : 1st on 94 points.
 

 

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Fiat Fiat, 1974 - Fiat Abarth : 2nd on 69 points.
 

 

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Ford Ford, 1974 - Ford RS Rallye Sport Team : 3rd on 54 points.
 

 

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Renault Renault, 1974 - Régie Renault : 4th on 41 points.
 

 

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Toyota Toyota, 1974 - Andersson Motorsport : 5th on 32 points.
 

 

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Nissan Nissan, 1974 - Nismo Datsun : 6th on 28 points.
 

 

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Porsche Porsche, 1974 - Porsche AG : 7th on 27 points.
 

 

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Opel Opel, 1974 - Opel Euro Händler : 8th on 27 points.
 

 

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Saab Saab, 1974 - Saab : 9th on 25 points.
 

 

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Mitsubishi Mitsubishi, 1974 - Singh/Cowan : 10th on 20 points.
 

 

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Volvo Volvo, 1974 - Volvo : 11th on 7 points.
 

 

No

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BMW BMW, 1974 - BMW Motorsport GmbH : 12th on 4 points.
 

 

No

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Peugeot Peugeot, 1974 - Peugeot Sport : 12th on 4 points.
 

 

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Citroën Citroën, 1974 - Citroën Sport : 14th on 3 points.
 

 

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