Rallying is almost as old as cars themselves, and has a massive following all over the world. It’s all about pushing the car to the limit while staying on the road (and not crashing into a tree or sliding over the edge of a cliff). So, what are the greatest rally cars of all time?
1. Subaru Impreza
Between 1995 and 2003, the Subaru Impreza dominated the world stage. And it was driven by all the biggest names in rallying at the time: Peter Solberg, Chris Atkinson, Richard Burns and the legendary Colin McRae. The Impreza came to epitomize rallying; it was pretty damn fast while handling quite well.
And despite Subaru withdrawing from the World Rally Championship in 2008, the Impreza kept making its mark: in 2010, a WRX STI went round the Nürburgring in nearly 8 minutes (7 minutes and 55 seconds). This was a record for a four-door car.
2. Lancia Stratos
The Stratos was built to become the perfect rally car. Designed in Italy, it was light—thanks to its fiberglass body—and under the hood was a Ferrari Dino V6.
And what a beast it was: thanks to the rear-wheel drive and the powerful engine, it was every driver’s favorite car for going sideways. Not surprisingly, it won three consecutive WRC titles, from 1974 to 1976.
3. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
In the 90s, this was the Impreza’s biggest threat. Mitsubishi developed the Evolution in 1992 for use in competition, and it was an unbridled success.
With its all-wheel-drive system and its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, it raged its way to victories from 1996 to 1999. Even today, you can see the car in Group N rallies.
4. Austin Mini Cooper
In the 60s, the Mini Cooper was a tiny beast that outshone all its bigger competitors. Against all odds, it won the classic Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967. This little champ ended up winning over 25 rallies throughout its lifetime.
And in 2010, Mini made a triumphant return to world rallying in 2010. It has won the Qatar International Rally and the 2012 Tour de Corse, among others.
5. Audi Sport Quattro S1
When Audi created Quattro, their own all-wheel-drive system, they revolutionized rallying for the better. They introduced a new generation of rally cars that were insanely powerful but could still handle well, thanks to four powered wheels.
No car epitomized this better than the Audi Sport Quattro S1. With a high power to weight ratio, it could go from 0 to 60 in a blistering 3.1 seconds.