Ferrari rally car shows us what we're missing in the WRC
An old WRC car isn't always the default choice for those going rallying...
Over the weekend there was a rally on the island of Lanzarote. It got a little bit more coverage than usual because Mikko Hirvonen was taking part in a Mini WRC car. Yet he wasn’t the fastest through the stages – that accolade belonged to a Porsche 997 GT3 RS rally car (one of four taking part). Yet even they weren’t the most spectacular cars in the rally, because after a conversation on Twitter I discovered that also tearing around the special stages was a Ferrari 360 rally car.
Ferrari badges have, of course, been on rally stages in the past. First there was the 2.4-litre V6 engine in the back of the Lancia Stratos (possibly the greatest sounding rally car of all time). Then there was the 308 GTB developed by Michelotto. Most of these were built to Group 4 regulations, but a few late cars were built to Group B regs.
The 360 Modena on Lanzarote was being driven by Martin Armide, but he is certainly not the first to tackle a rally in a 360. Below is a selection of videos showing 360s going rallying. Perhaps the most startling is the on-board footage of Yeray Lemes, who has since switched to a 997 (and was the one beating Hirvonen and his WRC car around Lanzarote at the weekend).
The current R-GT regulations do leave the way open for an even more modern Ferrari to be turned into a rally car, which is an enticing prospect. It would certainly be great to see something like a 458 Challenge car converted and howling around the Monte or Corsica and taking on the reigning champion, Francois Delecour, in his Tuthill-prepared GT3 RS. Until that happens, however, we might just have to book some flights to the Canary Islands in 2016.