Winter Rally Season Ahead

Now that we have had Thanksgiving here in the United States, our thoughts now turn to Christmas and the winter season.  For many of us, winter means car rallies in the snow.  In anticipation of those winter rallies, I was looking at some past winter rallies to recall the spectacle of winter rallies.  The World Rally Championship images below come from the 1992 WRC season and were published in “World Rallying 15” written by Martin Holmes.

The Swedish Rally was the one true winter rally event on the schedule that year.  This event was held north of Karlstad, Sweden in February.  The rally was won by Mats Jonsson/Lars Backman in a Toyota Celica GT-Four finishing 39 seconds ahead of Colin McRae/Derek Ringer in their Subaru Legacy 4WD Turbo.

Colin McRae/Derek Ringer In A Subaru Legacy Finished Second In the 1992 Swedish Rally

Finishing in seventh position about 14 minutes behind the leader was Bjorn Johansson/Anders Olsson in a Mazda 323 GT-X.

Johannson/Olsson In a Mazda 323 GT-X

The other WRC rally that year that often has some snowy stages is the series opening rally, the Monte Carlo Rally. In 1992 Didier Auriol/Bernard Occelli won the Monte Carlo Rally in their Lancia HF Integrale finishing about 2 minutes ahead of Carlos Sainz/Luis Moya in a Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD.  The Lancia HF Integrale was a very successful rally car.  The image below shows a Lancia HF Integrale driven by Philppe Bugalski/Denis Giraudet to fifth place about 8 minutes behind the winning Lancia.

A Lancia HF Integrale in the Classic Martini Racing Livery

In 1992 Nissan had two Nissan Pulsar GTI-R cars in the top 10 at the Monte Carlo Rally.  The Nissan Pulsar GTI-R shown below wasn’t one of them.  Perhaps the upside down “Nissan” name on the front of the car was indicative of the level of care in the preparation of this car.

This Nissan Pulsar GTI-R Finished Off The Pace

The Nissan Pulsar GTI-R car was never imported into North America, however one of these cars has competed several times in Targa Newfoundland.

Another car from that era that I believe was never officially imported into the United States was the Ford Cosworth 4×4.  These were very impressive rally cars and I had the pleasure of being the co-driver in one of these cars a few years ago in a winter rally in the northeast United States.

I was the Co-Driver in This Ford Cosworth

I hope to take part in several winter rallies this year.  Hopefully one of them will be an event in the Finger Lakes Winter Rally Series.  In 2011 I competed in one of the Finger Lakes Winter Rallies, the Long Way Home rally, with Dave Siesicki in his Honda.  Despite having two-wheel drive, the Dave’s Honda is good rally car unless there is a great deal of snow.

Dave Siesicki’s Honda That Dave & I Competed In the 2011 Long Way Home Rally

Despite how much the general public often complains about winter conditions, the winter rally season seems quite short and I look forward competing in a few of them.

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4 Responses to Winter Rally Season Ahead

  1. ron johnstonbaugh says:

    Love the story and pics Steve. Especially the 323GTX. I rallyed one from 1992 til 97 or so and it’s still the favorite of all the rally cats I’ve had. Totally predictable on loose surfaces (moreso than my WRX for sure). I just couldn’t keep wheel bearings in it (and the rust belt hit it pretty hard).

    • Hi Ron,
      I agree that the 323GTX did seem to suffer from “rust worm”. Several other people that I know have said the same thing. As a result, these cars are not very common these days, at least here in the northeast USA.

      I hope to see you at a rally this winter.

      Steve McKelvie

  2. Tim Winker says:

    Hi Steve (and all),

    I have been the organizer for at least one winter rally a year since the 1980s. This year’s effort will be the Wisconsin Winter Rallye, and will run between Superior and the Ashland/Washburn area. It will be two days with an overnight stop, two separately scored rallies. Date is January 19-20. Check the Arrowhead Sports Car Club page on Facebook, or the web site (if I can get around to updating the darn thing)

    • Hi Tim,
      I am preparing an overall rally schedule for the winter rallies in the northeast USA and eastern Canada. I have included events as far west Wisconsin. I think that I will have it prepared by the end of the weekend and then I will post it.
      The Wisconsin Winter Rallye sounds like a very good winter rally weekend. And I can imagine lots of snow in Wisconsin in January!


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