Right now the cars competing in the 2015 Wales Rally GB are probably somewhere around Special Stage 3. But on this Friday Photo we’re looking back to the final round of the World Rally Championship two decades ago.
Back in 1995 rallying was teetering on the edges of still being an endurance motorsport, with the Network Q RAC Rally covering some 317 competitive stage miles that year. It followed a route that ran from Chester, to Leeds, up into the Scottish Borders and then back down to Wales; a total distance of almost 1,500 miles across four days. Compare that to the 192 stage miles that the Wales Rally GB will cover this year.
More importantly, the 1995 RAC Rally saw Colin McRae battle teammate Carlos Sainz to take victory and with it claim the World Rally Championship. It was the only time McRae would ever win the title, although he would finish runner-up on three other occasions. But it wasn’t just winning the Championship, but doing it in the UK, in a straight fight with twice World Champion Sainz that made it even more special. Throughout his career McRae was susceptible to throwing away victories from pushing too hard but, somehow, he managed not to that year.
By the time you read this, the 2015 Rallye Monte Carlo will already be under way, with the cars somewhere in Special Stage 5 right now. After two years of dominance, Volkswagen decided to refresh the conquering Polo R WRC with a new colour scheme. Here are the photos of it in action on shakedown for the Monte earlier this week:
After two years of white, blue and silver, the change to a darker colour palette makes the Polo R WRC look even more aggressive than it already was. The Red Bull sponsorship is also a lot more obvious than before, and there’s no mistaking what Volkswagen model it is with the huge ‘Polo’ emblem in the front air intake! It’s also noticeable that Volkswagen Motorsport has dropped the prominent ‘R’ branding from the car. Perhaps they’ve become sick of people, like ESM, asking why there’s no true AWD Polo R street version being made!
Andreas Mikkelsen really making use of those ditches!
Ogier giving passenger rides through Monaco’s tunnel.
Either way, it’s still a very good-looking WRC car. Can Volkswagen make it three successful years in a row? We’ll just have to see!