Lancia Beta Coupe in World Rally Championship
1974 RAC Rally
The Lancia Beta Coupe career in the World Rally Championship lasted two seasons: 1974 and 1975.
The car was homologated at the F.I.A. at October 1, of 1974, seven months after selling started in Italy. The car was homologated in two rally groups, in Group 3, with 8 valve head, and in Group 4 with Abarth developed 16 valve head. Three day after the homologation date, the car made his first rally at Sanremo in red and white Marlboro colours (sponsor of Lancia Squadra Corse these years).
GR 3 8V engine 1
GR 4 16V engine 1
In his two seasons in World Rally Championship (1974-1975) the car developed a secundary paper next to the Stratos, and was eclipsed for this car. The fact is that the Betas were cars with few differences of standard (mainly in Gr. 3 form), and with limited development. This facts affected its results and got a lot of retirements mainly in rough rallies as the Acrópolis or Safari. The big problems that appeared in the events was the suspension breakage, transmisions (It was a front wheel drive with near 200 bhp in that years ) and gearboxes blocked in second gear.
In the 1975 season the Lancia Beta Coupe continued helping the Stratos for the points of Lancia in Makes Championship.
1975 Sweden Rally
In that year were built new cars, now all were Gr. 4 16 valve cars (in white and green and red Alitalia colours), and, in each event, new mechanic solutions were incorporated.
This season was the last year for the works rally Betas in the World Rally Championship team. At the year´s end Lancia decided that the image and rally results of the Stratos was enough for the make, ending of rallying with the Beta.
Nevertheless the Beta results are good, in only 13 month of events they got 10 top10 positions (in 11 rallies), (in an era of absolute dominion of rear wheel drive cars).
Perhaps with more money and work, the Beta could have been the Stratos successor, a front wheel drive 131 Abarth, near..., a 2 litre Kit Car of his era...World rally Championship Seasons 1974
Portugal Rally 20-23 March
Safari Rally 11-15 Apr.
100 Lakes Rally 2-4 Aug.
Sanremo Rally* 2-5 Oct.
Rideau Lakes Rally (Canada)* 16-20 Oct.
Press-On-Regardless Rally (USA)* 30 Oct. - 3 Nov.
R.A.C. Rally* 16-20 Nov.
Tour de Corse Rally* 30 Nov.- 1 Dec. 1975
Monte Carlo Rally* 15-25 Jan.
Sweden Rally* 13-15 Feb.
Safari Rally* 27-31 Mar.
Morocco Rally 23-29 Jun.
Portugal Rally 18-21 July
1000 Lakes Rally 29-31 Aug.
Sanremo Rally* 4-10 October
Tour de Corse Rally 8-9 November
RAC Rally* 16-20 November
The rallying career of the Beta was not reduced also to the World Championship. The works Lancia team rallied with the Beta in 1975 Italian Championship events too (some were forming part also of the European Championship) with Pregliasco, Ballestrieri, amongst others as drivers, and in some events the cars were trusted to some teams, I suppose that, with more or less official aid (Jolly Club or other teams). The rivals was again the Fiat team drivers with the 124 Abarth and the Lancia Stratos too, who sometimes were won by the Betas.
After 1975, one of the works cars was bought by the French importer of Lancia, Reseau Chardonnet, and this car rallied in French Championship events and the 24 hours over ice of Chamonix
Not only Coupes was the only car involved in this Beta sporting action, HPEs and Berlina was fast support and recce cars for the team (and HPE IE rallied even in 1982 Monte Carlo as Gr.N rally car).
Carello at 1975 Piazenza Rally
HPE in 1982 Rallye de Monte Carlo
Today some of this rally cars are conserved (and sometimes for sale at high prices), and several enjoy action in classic rally cars events.
This rally career of our cars are today the inspiration to beta entusiast around the world to recreate genuine rally machines, tune the Beta and enjoy all of his character.
Ex-works car in Lancia test track La Mandria
Recreated rally Beta
If you are interested, for more information please visit:http://usuarios.lycos.es/tododelado/