1994 WRC Season Commentary

1994 WRC Summary by Chris Biewer :

1994 is the first year in an event rotation system. Mainly for the calendar, we have the same 13 rounds as before, as well in the same order. The driver and the manufacturer WRC are identical, as already in 1993, but now we have to consider that some events are F2 only and such not counting for the proper WRC. These events are in 1994: Sweden, Australia and Catalunya. With these 3 events on a forced break we have 10 WRC events left. Best 8 results are counted.

A little more to that rotation system: There appeared to be an agreement that 13 rounds for the manufacturer WRC as in 1993 was too much. At the same time the FIA was looking into promoting the 2-Litre World Cup - a confusing name for what is commonly known as "F2". While giving the F2 cars their own calendar was meant to improve their promotion, the F2 only events were always largely ignored by public and media. Because on these F2 only events there was often a lack of top class entries, while there were still some 4x4 turbo cars and such the F2 cars still rarely got interesting overall results. So the FIA came up with a rota system that works like this: There are 3 types of WRC events, WRC only, F2 only and the combination of both. This meant that once every 3 years every WRC event had to step down as not counting towards the WRC (counting for F2 only). This system was pretty soon hated by everybody involved and was scrapped as soon as possible - after 3 years, to be fair to the events that already had to step down in 1994.

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On the driver market 1994 was a quiter season. David Richard trusted Carlos Sainz more than Ari Vatanen after both had a rotten season 1993, so Subaru rescued Sainz from Lancia, replacing Vatanen, who was now without a drive. But even more interesting was the line up of one off drivers that Ford hired when clear title favourite Fancois Delecour was forced into a break: Gianfranco Cunico, Malcolm Wilson, Ari Vatanen & Tommi Mäkinen! Most notably Tommi Mäkinen got his career back on track after his previous teams Mazda & Nissan all quit. It might be worth a note as well that moments after Tommi won his first event and before the end of the season, he was snapped up by Mitsubishi, where as we now know, Tommi was to stay for a while.

With the debut of the new shape Celica, Toyota runs a strategy of using 2 car types in the second half of the season: Juha Kankkunen drives the new model with title candidate Didier Auriol taking the proven machine.

It's a French season somehow.

Francois Delecour was clearly the favourite for the 1994 drivers title. That is before considering Francois is Monsieur Unlucky! Read our driver profile on him to see how he missed out on his supposed to be best season ever by no fault of his own, then returned late 1994 only to have one of the freakiest accidents ever: http://www.rallye-info.com/driverprofile.asp?driver=29

Didier Auriol then made sure the title indeed went to France. He gave us one of the most exciting and twisted season showdowns ever. The scenario seemed simple, on the last event, RAC 1994, Auriol needed a 6th place to beat Sainz to the title. However Sainz was all the way 2nd only to his team mate, making team orders possible. Auriol rolled heavily on the very first forest stage and then spent 2 days with a car that spluttered around with suspected head gasket damage. Then on the last day everything came together: Sainz crashed and retirements and a heroic day's driving moved Auriol into 6th!
 

1994 WRC Factory Team and Driver Line Ups :
 

Toyota Toyota, 1994 - TTE - Castrol Team Toyota Europe : 1st on 151 points.
 

 

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Subaru Subaru, 1994 - 555 Subaru Rally Team : 2nd on 140 points.
 

 

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Ford Ford, 1994 - Ford RS Rallye Sport Team : 3rd on 116 points.
 

 

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Mitsubishi Mitsubishi, 1994 - Mitsubishi Ralli Art Europe : 4th on 80 points.
 

 

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Audi Audi, 1994 - OMV Stohl Racing : 5th on 24 points.
 

 

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Renault Renault, 1994 - Régie Renault avec Diac : 6th on 17 points.
 

 

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Lancia Lancia, 1994 - Giesse Astra srl. : 7th on 13 points.
 

 

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Skoda Skoda, 1994 - Skoda Fabric : 8th on 4 points.
 

 

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Nissan Nissan, 1994 - NME : 9th on 2 points.
 

 

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Opel Opel, 1994 - GM Euro Dealer : 10th on 1 points.
 

 

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