LANCIA BETA COUPE: 1974-1975 WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP
Pictures taken from hpehf
1974 World Rally Championship
The Lancia Beta Coupe career in the World Rally Championship was the product of a internal fight of Lancia vs Abarth on the competition structure of the Fiat Group in 1973 and 1974.
Fiat firstly did not like that the rally wining car was the Stratos, a Group 4 very different of the cars sold to the public (although more than effective and impressive).
The Beta Coupe appeared as an answer to this problem (although this, the Stratos would continue winning the Rallies) and the points that it won at the 1974 events helped Lancia to win the World Championship for Makes in that year, and Lancia stayed one step further Abarth on Fiat Group.
The car was homologated at the F.I.A. at October 1, of 1974, seven months after starts selling 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, with a previous sporting debut in ice, at 24 hours of Chamonix.
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 Gr. 3), 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 1975 the Beta Coupe was retired of the works Lancia Rally team, because the Stratos himself was giving the marketing and wins enought to the make.
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...
Portugal Rally 20-23 March
Safari Rally 11-15 April
100 Lakes Rally 2-4 August
Sanremo Rally* 2-5 October
Rideau Lakes Rally (Canada)* 16-20 October
Press-On-Regardless Rally (USA)* 30 October - 3 November
R.A.C. Rally* 16-20 November
Tour de Corse Rally* 30 November- 1 December
* Lancia Beta Coupe rally entries.