GRR

Lancia to make sensational return to rallying

27th May 2024
Simon Ostler

Lancia has announced its plans to return to the world of rallying with its new performance hatchback, the Ypsilon HF.

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Alongside an official reveal of the Lancia’s upcoming electric hot hatch, the brand confirmed it will be developing a standalone version to compete in Rally4, a junior level of the rally pyramid that has featured the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208, and Opel Corsa in recent years.

While the road-going Ypsilon HF will be powered by a 240PS (177kW) electric motor, the version set to compete in Rally4 will swap in a turbocharged 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine producing 212PS (156kW).

It’ll be front-wheel drive as per the Rally4 regulations, with a five-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential, and provide aspiring rally drivers with the opportunity to compete at the wheel of a Lancia rally car.

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Lancia remains the most successful manufacturer in WRC history. Throughout the 1970s, ‘80s, and early ‘90s it maintained a presence at the very top of the sport, winning ten manufacturers’ championships with three of the most iconic rally cars ever made.

First was the Stratos, which forged its own legend as a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive brute that took three consecutive championships in ’74, ’75, and ’76. A fourth title came in ’83 with the Lancia 037 as it saw off the Audi Quattro in a battle for the ages between Lancia’s Walter Röhrl and Audi’s Hannu Mikkola.

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But it was the Lancia Delta HF that truly shifted the playing field. Introduced in 1987, it won the World Rally Championship at the first attempt, and went on to become the most dominant car in history. A run of six consecutive titles remains a WRC record; it won 46 rallies overall in the hands of drivers including Juha Kankkunen, Miki Biasion, Carlos Sainz, and Didier Auriol.

Lancia has leant on that heritage with its launch of the Ypsilon HF Rally4. These early renders showcase the car in a nostalgic Martini-style livery, the colours that the legendary Delta made so famous more than 30 years ago.

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