1995 WRC Season Commentary

1995 WRC Summary by Chris Biewer :

1995 was the second year of the three year rotation between F2 only, WRC only and combined events. In 1995 the F2 only events are: Safari, Acropolis, Argentina, Finland & San Remo, leaving only 8 rounds to score towards the full driver and manufacturer WRC.

Actually, to say this straight away: With a new nomination system the number of manufacturers is limited. Of those Mitsubishi concentrates on the drivers title with a 1-car team, even nominating groupN cars. Toyota is caught cheating. Ford is in a mess. So for the next 3 years there is only 1 manufacturer "competing" for the makes title - an utter farce! But in detail:

So this year the WRC saw another major shake up for the manufacturer WRChampionship. For the first time fixed numbers were given to the teams. As well, instead of any given car - including private ones - of each make to be ilegible for points, teams had now to nominate a maximum of 3 cars, not nominated cars will be ignored while however now the best 2 out of 3 cars could score points rather than the best 1 out of any. This appeared to be a good way to reward manufacturers to enter more cars more regularly without allowing "rich" teams to go over the top at the same time. Tho at the same time it could be a shame, when you saw in past years some private or importer teams with supposed to be lesser material or unknown machinery delivering a brilliant show. Like in San Remo 1993 the top10 place for the 1360cc Peugeot 106 or the 1993 private team Audi S2 Quattro adventure will no longer be rewarded.

With this nomination system we get rid of the "best so many results counted" idea, all results score, but makes still had the possibility of a joker car or losing a car for attacking, thanks to the "best 2 out of 3 cars score" system.

(Note: You may have found me saying with the new IRC series that the drop scores system is better than nominations. The nominations system as introduced to the WRC here in 1995 was good! The problems with the nominations system only arose when later the calendar was extended to 16 rounds, twice as many as 1995, which was tough for the poorer teams as they couldn't take drop scores and had to compete on 16 events per season, making a WRC season massively expensive. The other problem is when the "best 2 out of 3" system was dropped. If it is having at least one more car than can score points or having more events than can score points, both allows for an element of strategy and damage limitation. However having neither option, as in the WRC from 2004, that is absolutely fatal for manufacturers allowing their drivers to attack or trying strategies or trying newcomers or local hero drivers...!)

The main draw back from 1995 seemed that for some reason a points system was in place that awarded class position as well as overall position. For these new scores have been applied that were higher than before and made things so complicated, don't even ask me to explain it in detail (I made the according statistics at the time and honestly can't work it out again now how points are put together)! That system was abandoned again after 2 seasons, but for 1995 we have it: Each single car could score up to 35 points per event, each team up to 64 points per event! This lead to potentially confusing record scores, I.e. only 3 manufacturers qualified to score points of which the winner scored 350 points and the 3rd and last one still scored a record lookalike 223 points! - and that on a reduced 8rounds calendar, too!

For all the nomination business, but also the state and basic of groupA, which had manufacturer involvement with front line cars go down every year, the WRC reaches a new negativ record. All those years you find like 10 or more manufacturers in the points table, but for 1995 we are down to 3 - well, 1!!!!

A technical change is that air restrictors are reduced from 38mm to 34mm, which honestly was a bit steep and led to the Toyota scenario.

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There were no major changes on the drivers market, the main ones being Armin Schwarz moving back from Mitsubishi to Toyota while promising Belgian F2 ace Bruno Thiry replaces Massimo Biasion at Ford.

The main attention of the season however has to go to a major scandal involving Toyota. They were leading both the manufacturer as the driver (with Juha Kankkunen) WRChampionships before Catalunya, where at post event scrutineering an illegal feature on the Toyota turbos was found, creating a bypass for the air restrictors. It was an ingenius piece of engineering, however for that reason it was easy to prove that it had been done on purpose! Even worse for Toyota was the fact that the offending items used in Catalunya carried a quality control stamp dating back from May, proving that this cheat was carried out through most of the season. The FIA obviously didn't find that very funny and not only disqualified Toyota and all their drivers from the current WRC season, as well Toyota lost their competition licence for 12 month and were effectively out of competing on any level as a factory team for the entire following season as well!

Meanwhile Subaru applied some strange team orders on that penultimate round, Catalunya, when Colin McRae was very much to his public annoyance robbed of a clear victory. Colin had to let team mate Carlos Sainz pass, so both drivers would go into the final round, GB, on equal points and such allowing for a special fight for the title. In the end Colin McRae became a most welcome WRChampion, while Subaru was only 3rd before Toyota disqualification.

Note: In the 1995 championship tables we leave Toyota and their works drivers Auriol, Kankkunen, Schwarz & Raadström with a symbolic 1point. When the cheat was discovered all these drivers as Toyota themselves lost all their points. But as this was late in the season the FIA quite rightly did not go through the trouble of re-calculating all previous season's points. The 1point for Toyota and their drivers is artificial to make it possible that you can compare which points are not awarded and why.
 

1995 WRC Factory Team and Driver Line Ups :
 

Subaru Subaru, 1995 - 555 Subaru Rally Team : 1st on 350 points.
 

 

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Mitsubishi Mitsubishi, 1995 - Mitsubishi Ralli Art Europe : 2nd on 307 points.
 

 

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Ford Ford, 1995 - Ford RS Rallye Sport Team : 3rd on 223 points.
 

 

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Toyota Toyota, 1995 - TTE - Castrol Team Toyota Europe : 66th on 1 points.
 

 

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