Covering four years of madness when fans, ambitions, politics and cars collided to provide one of the greatest eras of motorsport ever; Group B – The Rise and Fall of Rallying’s Wildest Cars is, quite simply, brilliant.
Across its 255 pages, renowned rally photographer Reinhard Klien and author John Davenport – the man who masterminded Austin Rover’s Metro 6R4 assault – have produced an unrivalled account of Group B’s short existence.
From how the category was born out of total confusion, to its eventual demise as the cars outgrew the sport – anything and everything you ever wanted to know about rallying’s wild period is contained within this weighty tome.
It predominantly focuses its attention on the machines that made the Group B era so special, from both ends of the competitive spectrum.
Everything from the ludicrously powerful Peugeot 205 T16, Audi Quattro and Lancia Delta S4, to the forgettable Mazda RX-7 and unmentionably dire Citroen BX4TC are meticulously covered.
How they were conceived, their prowess – or lack thereof – on the world’s special stages, and their final stanzas, the story of each Group B monster is told in fascinating and authoritative detail.
Of course, there is no getting away from the fact that Group B was also tainted by tragedy and, as the years went by, it became apparent that an imbalance was appearing between the rally stages and the drivers and cars that were tackling them.
As the world already knows, things came to a dreadful conclusion during the 1986 season which witnessed a couple of terrible incidents in the form of Joaquim Santos’ Rally Portugal accident and Henri Toivonen and Sergio Cresto perishing in that year’s Tour de Corse.
These pivotal moments are analysed in a comprehensive manner, without ever straying into speculative or sensationalist territory, and you are left with a greater appreciation of both man and machine that competed in this incredible era of rallying because of it.
With contributions from rallying’s various luminaries, an abundance of statistics and a plethora of stunning imagery, Group B is unequivocally the definitive work on the subject.
It is worthy of a hailstorm of superlatives, but more important than that, it is worth every single penny of its slightly lofty price tag.
If you have even a passing interest in rallying it is an essential purchase.
|Hardcover: 255 pages||ISBN: 978-3927458567|
|Publisher: McKlien Publishing||Price: Approx. £39.99|
|Group B – The Rise and Fall of Rallying’s Wildest Cars is available to buy now at Amazon.|