1980 WRC Season Commentary

1980 WRC Summary by Chris Biewer :

New for 1980 is that makes and drivers WRC do not strictly have the same scoring rounds. In particular (maybe strangely) both the Nordic events, Sweden and 1000 Lakes, score for the drivers championship only.

For 1980, the Rally Argentina replaces the Rallye du Quebec in Canada. Best 7 results score for both titles.

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The big news before the 1980 season is the Ford works team as reigning manufacturer WRChampions to quit (for development of the Escort RS1700 Turbo, that was never finished).

The Ford colours are represented in 1980 by the private team of David Sutton, but having a works team like budget thanks to Rothmans sponsorship.

For the previous year's Ford drivers, Rothmans wants to support youngster Ari Vatanen and David Sutton is a close personal friend to Hannu Mikkola. This all leads to the nowadays unthinkable situation of the reigning driver WRChampion, Björn Waldegaard, not signing a contract, which without the Ford option is on his own will. Indeed this makes for an interesting season for Björn, as a free agent the World Champion is a welcome guest for many teams, Björn driving an amazing selection of cars in only one season.

In the next 3 years we find Björn in Fiats, Toyotas, Fords, Mercedes, Porsches, Ferraris.

Interestingly Per Eklund drives VW, Nissan, Toyota, Porsche and Triumph in only 1980 ….. Timo Mäkinen driving Peugeots, BMWs, Triumphs and Fords looks nearly pale in comparison.

The man of the season is Walter Röhrl, who seems to be on top of his strong team mates every time Fiat can fight for a victory. Combined with the lack of a regular Ford works team, the titles become a clear walk through for Röhrl and Fiat.

The 1980 season sees the break through of 2 youngsters, both Ari Vatanen and Henri Toivonen winning their first WRC event. With his surprise victory on the RAC aged 24 years and 3 months, Henri is to date (at the time of writing this some 25years later) the youngest WRC event winner ever!
 

1980 WRC Factory Team and Driver Line Ups :
 

Fiat Fiat, 1980 - Fiat Abarth : 66th on 36 points.
 

 

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Ford Ford, 1980 - David Sutton (Cars) Ltd. : 66th on 20 points.
 

 

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Lancia Lancia, 1980 - Chardonnet (Lancia France) : 66th on 16 points.
 

 

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Mercedes Mercedes, 1980 - Daimler Benz AG : 66th on 29 points.
 

 

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Nissan Nissan, 1980 - Nismo Datsun : 66th on 18 points.
 

 

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Opel Opel, 1980 - Opel Euro Händler / DTV : 66th on 25 points.
 

 

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Peugeot Peugeot, 1980 - Peugeot Talbot Sport : 66th on 16 points.
 

 

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Porsche Porsche, 1980 - Fréres Almeras avec Esso / Eminence : 66th on 10 points.
 

 

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Talbot Talbot, 1980 - Talbot : 66th on 0 points.
 

 

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Toyota Toyota, 1980 - TTE : 66th on 9 points.
 

 

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Volkswagen Volkswagen, 1980 - Volkswagen France : 66th on 14 points.
 

 

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