1992 WRC Season Commentary

1992 WRC Summary by Chris Biewer :

No changes in the event calendar, nor its order. As in the previous year Sweden, NZ, Bandama and Catalunya only score for the driver WRChampionship.

As well, as before best 7 scores count (9 for drivers).

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With no changes on that side, the main highlights come from driver/team changes for 1992. Not surprisingly Alessandro Fiorio only lasted one year at Ford, a year of poor results but surely rich impressions, before he comes back into a works supported Lancia "sponsored by daddy".

But surprisingly Ford's British institution Malcolm Wilson only gets one event. Ford is concentrating on 2 drivers rather than 3 and both Fiorio and Wilson are replaced only by Massimo Biasion, which again is a surprise since Biasion was virtually part of the Lancia furniture. Less surprising that Ford kept Francois Delecour.

Subaru is in a similar surprise situation when Markku Alen as both, their lead & development driver since the debut of the Legacy, departs the team. Markku moves to Toyota, were he doesn't seem to get on as well as hoped.

Meanwhile Tommi Mäkinen is rescued by Nissan from the sinking Mazda ship. However this brings another curiosity: Tommi Mäkinen's Nissan deal came within days of Rallye Monte Carlo. Nissan then decided to take on an asphalt specialist too, in the shape of Subaru's Francois Chatriot. This all means British talent David Llewellin had lost his Nissan drive at such late notice that there was no chance at all for him to find another drive.

At Mitsubishi the situation is a little different, they retain all their drivers but than appear to limit their program. Timo Salonen, the Mitsubishi contracted driver with the best previous record, mysteriously and very quietly disappears from the entry lists from as early as Portugal onwards.

To close this complicated circle, Subaru, now in need of a completely new line up, hires Ari Vatanen, who had been unemployed since a year and their own BRC star Colin McRae. Toyota keeps it’s drivers Sainz and Schwarz and have Alen as an addition. Lancia still has Kankkunen and Auriol. The gap left by Biasion is filled with occasional drives for French asphalt specialist Philippe Bugalski and Italian’s rising star Andrea Aghini.

Even though at least some Japanese manufacturers have joined the frame, the group A regulations still don't seem ideal for most makes (although it is nice to see that rallying can actually show up road car strengths and weaknesses). Nissan seems to suffer heavily with an intercooler that can not be moved from its road car position (above the engine and nick-named interwarmer), while the only way to improve under bonnet air flow is to use lamp pods 24 hours a day. Nissan has a disastrous season with results bad enough that all 3 of their drivers - yes, including Tommi Mäkinen - seriously consider ending their careers.

Only 1 year after Mazda had quit and only 1½ years after the launch of Nissan's 4x4 turbo group A car Nissan pulls out of the WRC again!

And once again Tommi Mäkinen: Poor Tommi, at this point one of the most promising new talents has now been 2 years in succession with a team that quit rallying!

Lancia's Didier Auriol wins 6 events during the season but still doesn't become World Rally Champion! And that in the years of the old points system that really does reward victories, with a big points gap for the winner and drop scores, so Auriol in fact wins 6 out of 9 possible scores! But Auriol is the mega example of inconsistancy, on events he didn't win this year his best result was 10th! This means, while Lancia collects their 6th makes title in a row, the drivers title curiously goes to Toyota’s Carlos Sainz.
 

1992 WRC Factory Team and Driver Line Ups :
 

Lancia Lancia, 1992 - Martini Racing Lancia Abarth : 1st on 140 points.
 

 

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Toyota Toyota, 1992 - TTE : 2nd on 116 points.
 

 

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Ford Ford, 1992 - Ford Motor Company : 3rd on 94 points.
 

 

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Subaru Subaru, 1992 - Subaru Rally Team : 4th on 60 points.
 

 

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Mitsubishi Mitsubishi, 1992 - Mitsubishi Ralli Art Europe : 5th on 44 points.
 

 

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Nissan Nissan, 1992 - NME : 6th on 37 points.
 

 

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Audi Audi, 1992 - Stohl Racing : 7th on 10 points.
 

 

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Renault Renault, 1992 - Régie Renault avec Diac : 8th on 9 points.
 

 

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Opel Opel, 1992 - GM Euro Dealers : 9th on 2 points.
 

 

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