1990 WRC Season Commentary

1990 WRC Summary by Chris Biewer :

The event calendar is the same as the year before with the only exception of the Rally Sweden being moved back to its original February date rather than the "unsocial" New Year's date. However Rally Sweden's lack of snow problem is back and for that very reason the event is eventually cancelled.

Driver WRC only rounds for 1990 are Sweden, New Zealand and Bandama, best 7 results are counted (8 for drivers).

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For the first time since the launch of group A we see a promising manufacturer battle. In its third year the Toyota eventually is a match for the Lancia, even though Toyota has lost their lead driver Juha Kankkunen back to Lancia.

Volkswagen launches a perfect sized 4x4 supercharged rally car, but that project is nothing short of a disaster and Volkswagen is never seen again.

Subaru launches their new Legacy RS and like the Mitsubishi Galant VR4, it has a promising start, although both, Subaru and Mitsubishi suffer reliability problems throughout the year.

Interesting is the driver situation for both. Markku Alen joins Subaru as their #1 driver after having spent over 1 ½ decades in Fiat Group cars. At Mitsubishi it is a surprise that they didn't pick up their 1989 Finland winner Mikael Ericsson, they let him slip to Toyota and end up taking Toyota's Kenneth Eriksson instead as their regular #2 to Ari Vatanen.

Probably the biggest successes for Mitsubishi during 1990 may actually have been the groupN wins in NZ, Finland and Australia, all by a certain Tommi Mäkinen (although the first groupN win by Mitsubishi was Australia 1989, but that was a one off).

Ford as well as Mazda launch new generations of their cars in Finland, the Ford eventually has got 4x4 and the Mazda a bigger engine, now 1.8 instead of 1.6.

2 teams that show regular appearances in the WRC but don't care much about championship results for the moment are Nissan and Peugeot. Both are in some kind of transitsion period. Nissan was the only Japanese team to successfully operate from their Japanese home, yet they move to Europe for a more serious approach next year. Peugeot carries on with major rally programs for importers, but are about to switch from "F2" cars to even smaller 1300cc & 1400cc machines. Interestingly both these makes actually manage to score 2 makes WRC points in 1990: Nissan through the Greek importers with a RWD V6 Silvia before switching to the European run 4x4 turbo Sunny. Peugeot's French Cup winner Francois Delecour comes 9th in Monte Carlo with an old 309, in the following Tour de Corse they manage 12th, 13th, 14th places overall with 1300cc cars and in the RAC a certain 19years old Richard Burns impresses with a groupN 16v version of the 309. These are truly extraordinary results, but in championship terms bear little importance.
 

1990 WRC Factory Team and Driver Line Ups :
 

Lancia Lancia, 1990 - Martini Racing Lancia Abarth : 1st on 137 points.
 

 

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Toyota Toyota, 1990 - TTE : 2nd on 131 points.
 

 

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Mitsubishi Mitsubishi, 1990 - Mitsubishi Ralli Art Europe : 3rd on 56 points.
 

 

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Subaru Subaru, 1990 - Subaru Rally Team : 4th on 43 points.
 

 

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Mazda Mazda, 1990 - MRT Mazda Rally Team Europe : 5th on 30 points.
 

 

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Audi Audi, 1990 - Audi Sport : 6th on 24 points.
 

 

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Renault Renault, 1990 - Simon Racing - Diac Renault : 7th on 24 points.
 

 

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Ford Ford, 1990 - Q8 Ford RS Rallye Sport Team : 8th on 22 points.
 

 

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BMW BMW, 1990 - Bastos Motul BMW Prodrive : 9th on 14 points.
 

 

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Volkswagen Volkswagen, 1990 - Volkswagen Motorsport : 10th on 10 points.
 

 

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Citroën Citroën, 1990 - Citroën Sport : 11th on 8 points.
 

 

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