Audi Quattro A2 and Sport Quattro S1: 5 cylinders of the apocalypse

The most iconic and bestial Group B that would conquer hearts, WRC and Pikes Peak

When Audi arrived at the World Rally Championship with its all-wheel drive Quattro (a sporty variant of the Audi 80 at the time), it completely and forever changed the conception of the discipline. Until then, the idea of installing four-wheel drive in performance cars seemed ridiculous to brands, limiting themselves to front-wheel drive vehicles for conventional utility vehicles and rear-wheel drive for more performance cars, such as those seen in the 1990s. seventies in the World Rally Championship: the Lancia Stratos, Ford Escort MKI and MKII, Alpine A110 or Fiat 131 Abarth. Now, from the moment Audi released the Quattro and it started working in gravel rallies, the rally world was left in disarray. Just, furthermore, at the dawn of Group B, which was going to mean a brutal revolution.

Audi was based on the results observed in the Volkswagen Iltis, a vehicle of military origin that had shown that all-wheel drive had a lot of use, especially on dirt roads. The advantage in grip was substantial on dirt, although it was not so much (at that time) on asphalt, at a time when it was not uncommon to see mixed rallies (this no longer exists in the WRC since RallyRACC 2019 for different reasons. ). Since they did not consider it a danger, the brands allowed all-wheel drive to be allowed in rallies. From the moment the Quattro set foot in gravel rallies, many people’s faces changed. In just a few years, simple traction was going to become obsolete.

In the Group B era, cars such as the Audi Quattro A2 (which was born as Group 4 and later became Group B) or the Lancia 037, of which we did a report on its street version, coexisted, in addition to other cars such as the Renault Maxi 5 Turbo or the Opel Manta, Nissan 240RS or Ferrari 288 GTO driven by the great Antonio Zanini. Later came the true monsters such as the Peugeot 205 T16 (and T16 Evo2), the MG Metro 6R4, the Ford RS200, Lancia Delta S4…and perhaps the most iconic, the Sport Quattro S1 and S1 E2, cars that have marked an era. unforgettable in the World Rally Championship.

Once Group B were banned from the WRC after the tragic 1986 season, many of them ended up in rallycross and other competitions while rallies were left only with Group A and Group N cars. While Peugeot took the 205 Turbo 16s to the Dakar (winning with both the 205 and the 405), Audi would march to Pikes Peak, where it had already won in 1985 with one of the most iconic figures of the time: Michèle Mouton. The Frenchwoman broke the then-existing record with the Audi, in addition to being the first woman to triumph in the legendary North American climb.