Lancia fielded three cars, with Markku Alén and Massimo Biasion once again on duty in the Group B Delta S4s, and the third car driven by local hero Jorge Recalde in place of Mikael Ericsson. Reigning champion Peugeot’s 205 Turbo 16s would be pedalled by regular Juha Kankkunen and New Zealand absentee Bruno Saby. With Ford missing the event, Stig Blomqvist was given clearance to jump into the third French machine while World Champion Timo Salonen sat out the South American event.
Italian Biasion, who’d tackled five of the season’s rallies in the turbo- and supercharged S4 monster and taken second in Greece and third in New Zealand, took an immediate lead by winning the first of the 26 stages spread over three days. The Lancias benefitted from bigger front tyres and extra tread in their Pirelli tyres to cope with the dusty gravel, as well as suspension tweaks, and it gave them the edge over their French rival.
So dominant were the Lancias, in fact, that 205 T16 top men Kankkunen and Blomqvist managed only three stage wins between them. Saby’s engine had failed on SS9, the opening stage of the second day. Once Kankkunen’s car had succumbed to suspension woes in SS16 later that day, the way was clear for Lancia to take its first one-two since the cars’ first WRC appearance – in the Lombard RAC Rally at the end of 1985. With Peugeot out of the picture Alén had been ordered to hold station behind Biasion but was lucky to finish at all having twice endured a turbo pipe coming adrift, his fire extinguisher going off and fading brakes.
There were no such dramas for Biasion, who held on to take his maiden win at rallying’s top level, by less than half a minute from Alén. Blomqvist upheld Peugeot honour with third on his first appearance in the 205, with Recalde making it a Lancia 1-2-4.
The battle for Group A honours was won for the second consecutive rally by Kenneth Eriksson’s Volkswagen, which comfortably eclipsed the Audi of Rudi Stohl.
Rally Argentina, 1986
1 Massimo Biasion (I)/Tiziano Siviero (I) – Lancia Delta S4, 6h36m26s
2 Markku Alén (FIN)/Ilkka Kivimäki (FIN) – Lancia Delta S4, +24s
3 Stig Blomqvist (S)/Bruno Berglund (S) – Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 E2, +4m16s
4 Jorge Recalde (RA)/Jorge del Buono (RA) – Lancia Delta S4, +5m07s
5 Kenneth Eriksson (S)/Peter Diekmann (D) – Volkswagen Golf GTI, +45m51s
6 Rudolf Stohl (A)/Reinhard Kaufmann (A) – Audi Coupé, +53m39s