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1997 World Rally Championship
World Drivers' Champion:
Tommi Mäkinen
World Manufacturers' Champion:
Subaru
Previous: 1996 Next: 1998

The 1997 World Rally Championship was the 25th season of the FIA World Rally Championship. The season saw many changes in the championship. Most notably, Group A was partially replaced by the World Rally Car with manufacturers given the option which regulations to construct to. One inherent benefit to manufacturers by adopting WRC regulations was removing the need to mass-produce road-going versions of the cars that they competed with, under the previous rules for homologation. This meant that vehicles such as the Escort RS Cosworth and Subaru Impreza Turbo no longer had to be mass-produced for general sale in order to compete at World Championship level, and thus acting as a means of attracting increased competition and involvement by manufacturers. In the few years that follow, the Championship saw the added presence of WRC cars from companies such as Hyundai, Seat, Citroen, and Peugeot, who would all compete under WRC regulations without having to manufacture equivalent specialised road cars for public sale. Both Ford and Subaru switched to WRC in 1997, except Mitsubishi who stayed with Group A to maintain the links to their Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution road cars. Subaru's transition was much more gradual for similar reasons with the early Subaru Impreza WRCs still largely Group A in nature.

Events also became shorter and more compact, event rotation system used in previous three seasons was dropped and registered manufacturers were required to contest the expanded 14 event calendar for the first time. In due course the World Rally Car rules would bring new manufactures into the sport, but at the start of 1997 it was still Subaru versus Mitsubishi versus Ford as before, although, by mid season Toyota Team Europe were back with a Corolla World Rally Car. The Drivers' championship was very tightly contested and in the end Tommi Mäkinen won his second drivers' world championship in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV by a single point ahead of Subaru Impreza WRC driver Colin McRae after the final round in Great Britain. Carlos Sainz was third in the leading Ford Escort WRC. The Manufacturers' title was won by Subaru.

One major flaw in the new class system was exposed by the increasing speed of the naturally aspirated front-wheel-drive FIA 2-Litre World Rally Cup cars. The tarmac specification cars built by Peugeot and Renault that competed in the all-tarmac French and Spanish championships became major threats on WRC tarmac events Rallye Catalunya and the Tour de Corse with Gilles Panizzi defeating all but two of the WRC four-wheel-drive turbos in his Peugeot 306 Maxi, taking third place in both events.

Contents

CalendarEdit

Round Dates Race
1 19–22 January   Monte Carlo Rally
2 7–10 February   Swedish Rally
3 1–3 March   Safari Rally
4 23–26 March   Rally Portugal
5 14–16 April   Rally Catalunya
6 5–7 May   Tour de Corse
7 22–24 May   Rally Argentina
8 8–10 June   Acropolis Rally
9 2–5 August   Rally New Zealand
10 29–31 August   Rally Finland
11 19–21 September   Rally Indonesia
12 12–15 October   Rally Sanremo
13 30 October-2 November   Rally Australia
14 23–25 November   RAC Rally

Teams and driversEdit

Manufacturer teams
Team Constructor Car Tyre No Drivers Rounds
  Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV
Lancer Evo III
M 1   Tommi Mäkinen All
2   Uwe Nittel 1–2, 5–6, 10, 12
  Richard Burns 3–4, 7–9, 11, 13–14
10   Uwe Nittel 8
11   Ed Ordynski 13
13   Kenjiro Shinozuka 13
  555 Subaru World Rally Team Subaru Impreza WRC 97 P 3   Colin McRae All
4   Piero Liatti 1, 5–6, 12
  Kenneth Eriksson 2–4, 7–11, 13–14
8   Piero Liatti 14
  Ford Motor Company Ford Escort WRC M 5   Carlos Sainz All
6   Armin Schwarz 1–6
  Juha Kankkunen 7–14
16   Angelo Medeghini 14
  Toyota Castrol Team Toyota Corolla WRC
Celica GT-Four ST205
M 7   Didier Auriol 10–14
8   Neal Bates 11, 13
9   Marcus Grönholm 10, 14
10   Freddy Loix 12
  Peugeot Sport Peugeot 306 Maxi M 7   Gilles Panizzi 5–6
9   François Delecour 5–6
16   Adruzilo Lopes 4
  Jaime Azcona 5
  Société Diac Renault Mégane Maxi M 8   Philippe Bugalski 6
10   Serge Jordan 6
22   Claude Balesi 6
Major entries not registered as manufacturers
Team Constructor Car Drivers Rounds
  R.A.S. Sport Ford Escort RS Cosworth   Didier Auriol 1
  Jean-Pierre Richelmi 4, 8
  Mobil Ford Motorsport   Stig Blomqvist 2
  Blue Rose Team   Jarmo Kytölehto 2
  Bo-Be Plastindustri AB   Mats Jonsson 2
  Gazprom Rally Team   Alexander Zheludov 14
Escort WRC   Bruno Thiry 14
  Totta Peres Competicao   Fernando Peres 4
  Belgacom Turbo Team   Gregoire de Mevius 4, 8, 12, 14
  Ford Motor Hellas   Leonídas Kyrkos 8
  Blue Rose Team   Jarmo Kytölehto 10
  Ford Team Finland   Sebastian Lindholm 10
  Jolly Club   Gianfranco Cunico 12
  Motorsport Consultancy   Ari Vatanen 14
  Toyota Castrol Team Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205   Freddy Loix 1, 4, 8, 10, 13
  Isolde Holderied 1
  Henrik Lundgaard 1
  Thomas Rådström 2, 8
  Tomas Jansson 2, 10
  Marcus Grönholm 2, 4, 7
  Mats Thorszelius 2
  Ian Duncan 3
  Neal Bates 9
  Fujimoto Yoshio 11, 13
  H.F. Grifone SRL   Raúl Sufan 4–5, 7–13
  Didier Auriol 7
  Andrea Aghini 12
  Pierlorenzo Zanchi 12
  Mitsubishi Ralliart Germany Mitsubishi Lancer Evo III
Lancer Evo IV
  Gustavo Trelles 1–2, 4–5, 7–10, 12
  Manfred Stohl 1–2, 4–5, 7, 10, 12
  Luis Climent 4–6, 8, 10, 13–14
  Kris Rosenberger 12, 14
  Mitsubishi Ralliart Sweden   Kenneth Bäcklund 2
  Stig-Olov Walfridson 2
  Mitsubishi Ralliart Finland   Juha Kangas 2, 10
  Jouko Puhakka 10
  Ralliart New Zealand   Geoff Argyle 9
  Reece Jones 9
  Marty Roestenburg 9
  Craig Marshall 9
  Subaru Allstars Subaru Impreza 555   Rui Madeira 4–5
  Yukihiko Sakurai 4, 8, 14
  A.R.T. Engineering   Angelo Medeghini 5, 10
  Andrea Navarra 8, 12, 14
  Massimo Ercolani 12
  Subaru Rally Team Australia   Peter 'Possum' Bourne 9, 13
  Greg Graham 9, 13
  Subaru Rally Team Japan   Yoshihiro Kataoka 9
  Hideaki Miyoshi 9, 11, 13
  Toshihiro Arai 13

Results and standingsEdit

Drivers' championshipEdit

Pos. Driver MON
 
SWE
 
KEN
 
POR
 
ESP
 
FRA
 
ARG
 
GRE
 
NZL
 
FIN
 
INA
 
ITA
 
AUS
 
GBR
 
 Pts 
1   Tommi Mäkinen 3 3 Ret 1 1 Ret 1 3 Ret 1 Ret 3 2 6 63
2   Colin McRae Ret 4 1 Ret 4 1 2 Ret Ret Ret Ret 1 1 1 62
3   Carlos Sainz 2 2 Ret Ret 10 2 Ret 1 2 Ret 1 4 Ret 3 51
4   Juha Kankkunen Ret 2 3 2 2 6 Ret 2 29
5   Kenneth Eriksson 1 Ret Ret 3 Ret 1 Ret 3 Ret Ret 28
6   Piero Liatti 1 2 5 2 7 24
7   Richard Burns 2 Ret Ret 4 4 4 4 4 21
8   Armin Schwarz 4 6 4 3 Ret 9 11
9   Freddy Loix 16 2 Ret 37 5 7 8
10   Gilles Panizzi 3 3 8
11   Didier Auriol Ret 5 8 Ret 8 3 Ret 6
12   Marcus Grönholm 8 Ret 4 Ret 5 5
13   Ian Duncan 3 4
14   Jarmo Kytölehto Ret 3 4
15   Thomas Rådström 5 5 4
16   Possum Bourne 5 5 4
17   Grégoire De Mévius 4 7 Ret Ret 3
18   François Delecour DSQ 4 3
19   Sebastian Lindholm 4 3
20   Uwe Nittel 5 Ret 8 8 6 7 Ret 3
21   Jonathan Toroitich 5 2
22   Jean-Pierre Richelmi 5 Ret 2
23   Angelo Medeghini 5 Ret 10 2
24   Tomas Jansson 7 5 2
25   Yoshio Fujimoto 5 Ret 2
26   Henrik Lundgaard 6 1
27   Frédéric Dor 6 17 11 23 29 15 1
28   Masao Kamioka 6 Ret 14 1
29   Rui Madeira 15 6 1
30   Philippe Bugalski 6 1
31   Gustavo Trelles 9 16 7 13 6 13 7 17 Ret 1
32   Neal Bates 6 Ret 8 1
33   Pasi Hagström 6 1
34   Karamjit Singh 11 6 Ret 17 1
35   Ed Ordynski 6 1
Pos. Driver MON
 
SWE
 
KEN
 
POR
 
ESP
 
FRA
 
ARG
 
GRE
 
NZL
 
FIN
 
INA
 
ITA
 
AUS
 
GBR
 
 Pts 
Key
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green Points finish
Blue Non-points finish
Non-classified finish (NC)
Purple Did not finish (Ret)
Black Excluded (EX)
Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Cancelled (C)
Blank Withdrew entry from
the event (WD)

Manufacturers' championshipEdit

Pos. Manufacturer No. MON
 
SWE
 
KEN
 
POR
 
ESP
 
FRA
 
ARG
 
GRE
 
NZL
 
FIN
 
INA
 
ITA
 
AUS
 
GBR
 
Points
1   555 Subaru World Rally Team 3 Ret 4 1 Ret 4 1 2 Ret Ret Ret Ret 1 1 1 114
4 1 1 Ret Ret 2 5 3 Ret 1 Ret 3 2 Ret Ret
2   Ford Motor Co 5 2 2 Ret Ret 10 2 Ret 1 2 Ret 1 4 Ret 3 90
6 4 6 4 3 Ret 9 Ret 2 3 2 2 6 Ret 2
3   Team Mitsubishi Ralliart 1 3 3 Ret 1 1 Ret 1 3 Ret 1 Ret 3 2 6 86
2 5 Ret 2 Ret 8 8 Ret 4 4 7 4 Ret 4 4
Pos. Manufacturer No. MON
 
SWE
 
KEN
 
POR
 
ESP
 
FRA
 
ARG
 
GRE
 
NZL
 
FIN
 
INA
 
ITA
 
AUS
 
GBR
 
Points
Key
Colour Result
Gold Winner
Silver 2nd place
Bronze 3rd place
Green Points finish
Blue Non-points finish
Non-classified finish (NC)
Purple Did not finish (Ret)
Black Excluded (EX)
Disqualified (DSQ)
White Did not start (DNS)
Cancelled (C)
Blank Withdrew entry from
the event (WD)

EventsEdit

1997 World Rally Championship event map
 
Black = Tarmac Brown = Gravel Blue = Ice/Snow Red = Mixed Surface
1997 World Rally Championship schedule and results
Rally Name Dates Run Podium Drivers (Finishing Time) Podium Cars
  Monte Carlo Rally 19 January–22 January
  1.   Piero Liatti (4h:26m:58s)
  2.   Carlos Sainz (4h:27m:53s)
  3.   Tommi Mäkinen (4h:29m:29s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  Swedish Rally 7 February–10 February
  1.   Kenneth Eriksson (3h:51m:49s)
  2.   Carlos Sainz (3h:52m:05s)
  3.   Tommi Mäkinen (3h:52m:15s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  Safari Rally 1 March–3 March
  1.   Colin McRae (11h:29m:00s)
  2.   Richard Burns (11h:36m:04s)
  3.   Ian Duncan (11h:40m:18s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Mitsubishi Carisma GT Evolution IV
  3. Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205
  Rally Portugal 23 March–26 March
  1.   Tommi Mäkinen (4h:53m:01s)
  2.   Freddy Loix (4h:57m:06s)
  3.   Armin Schwarz (4h:59m:34s)
  1. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  2. Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205
  3. Ford Escort WRC
  Rally Catalunya 14 April–16 April
  1.   Tommi Mäkinen (4h:08m:46s)
  2.   Piero Liatti (4h:08m:53s)
  3.   Gilles Panizzi (4h:11m:55s)
  1. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  2. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  3. Peugeot 306 Maxi
  Tour de Corse 5 May–7 May
  1.   Colin McRae (4h:31m:08s)
  2.   Carlos Sainz (4h:31m:16s)
  3.   Gilles Panizzi (4h:31m:46s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Peugeot 306 Maxi
  Rally Argentina 22 May–24 May
  1.   Tommi Mäkinen (4h:25m:38s)
  2.   Colin McRae (4h:26m:39s)
  3.   Kenneth Eriksson (4h:30m:06s)
  1. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  2. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  3. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  Acropolis Rally 8 June–10 June
  1.   Carlos Sainz (4h:56m:24s)
  2.   Juha Kankkunen (4h:56m:41s)
  3.   Tommi Mäkinen (5h:01m:27s)
  1. Ford Escort WRC
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  Rally New Zealand 2 August–5 August
  1.   Kenneth Eriksson (4h:14m:11s)
  2.   Carlos Sainz (4h:14m:24s)
  3.   Juha Kankkunen (4h:14m:30s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Ford Escort WRC
  Rally Finland 29 August–31 August
  1.   Tommi Mäkinen (3h:16m:18s)
  2.   Juha Kankkunen (3h:16m:25s)
  3.   Jarmo Kytölehto (3h:18m:18s)
  1. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Ford Escort WRC
  Rally Indonesia 19 September–21 September
  1.   Carlos Sainz (4h:37m:30s)
  2.   Juha Kankkunen (4h:37m:46s)
  3.   Kenneth Eriksson (4h:38m:49s)
  1. Ford Escort WRC
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  Rally Sanremo 13 October–15 October
  1.   Colin McRae (4h:08m:25s)
  2.   Piero Liatti (4h:08m:31s)
  3.   Tommi Mäkinen (4h:08m:37s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  3. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  Rally Australia 30 October–2 November
  1.   Colin McRae (4h:05m:31s)
  2.   Tommi Mäkinen (4h:05m:37s)
  3.   Didier Auriol (4h:05m:52s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV
  3. Toyota Corolla WRC
  RAC Rally 23 November–25 November
  1.   Colin McRae (3h:54m:31s)
  2.   Juha Kankkunen (3h:57m:18s)
  3.   Carlos Sainz (3h:58m:24s)
  1. Subaru Impreza WRC 97
  2. Ford Escort WRC
  3. Ford Escort WRC

External linksEdit