Na początku grupy B Lancia weszła do Rajdowych Mistrzostw Świata ze swoim lekkim i sprawnym 037. Jednak jej tradycyjny napęd na tylne koła miał swoje ograniczenia w porównaniu z konkurentami z napędem 4×4. Lancia odzyskała swoje miejsce na szczycie rankingu, kiedy Cesare Fiorio i Claudio Lombardi postanowili zacząć od czystej kartki papieru i stworzyli Deltę S4. W samochodzie należało utrzymać wagę poniżej 900 kg i dlatego zdecydowano się na ograniczenie pojemności silnika do 1759 cm3, aby spełnić ograniczenia nałożone przepisami. Opracowano nowy, całkowicie aluminiowy 16-zaworowy silnik, który miał dorównać lub pobić jednostkę Peugeota. Aby zrównoważyć wady turbosprężarki, Lombardi wpadł na pomysł połączenia turbo i mechanicznego doładowania Volumex. Dzięki temu powstał silnik, który był zarówno mocny, jak i elastyczny. Napęd na cztery koła był niezbędny, a sprzęgło wiskotyczne Fergusona pozwoliło na zmianę rozdziału momentu obrotowego od 40% na przód 60% tył, aż do 100% na tył. Lancia Delta S4 zadebiutowała oficjalnie w listopadzie 1985 roku podczas Rajdzu RAC, w którym udowodniła swoje walory, zajmując pierwsze i drugie miejsce. W następnym roku stoczyła zaciętą walkę o tytuł z Peugeotem i pod koniec sezonu Lancia była na czele. Niestety FIA unieważniła wyniki Rajdu San Remo, przyznając zwycięstwo Peugeotowi.
Lancia Delta S4 wystawiona na aukcji opuściła siedzibę Abartha w roku 1986 w B-grupowej konfiguracji i w pięknych barwach Lancia Martini. Jej kariera rozpoczęła się w grudniu tego samego roku, kiedy zajęła drugie miejsce w Memoriale Bettega. Po utrąceniu Grupy B, Lancię ponownie można było zobaczyć w 1987 roku podczas wyścigu lodowego 24 Heures de Chamonix. Samochody z Grupy B świetnie nadawały się także do rallycrossu. Przedstawiona Lancia miała także swój udział i w tej dyscyplinie, dzięki Brunowi Saby, jednemu z najlepszych kierowców rajdowych lat 80-tych.
S4 przygotowana przez Grenoble Sport Auto nosiła barwy Métal 5 i rozpoczęła zaciekły sezon rallycrossu. Jak wspomina Quesnel: „W tamtym roku stoczyliśmy piekielną walkę z Peugeotem. W ostatniej rundzie nasze zespoły odniosły po pięć zwycięstw”. Saby kontynuuje historię: „Przez cały sezon walczyłem z Guyem Fréquelinem, który jeździł 205 T16. Ostatnia runda odbyła się w Trappes i każdy z nas wygrał po pięć rund, więc ten ostatni wyścig był decydujący. W rallycrossie start na czele stawki jest niezbędny, ponieważ po nim trudno wyprzedzić. Cóż, 205 miał niezwykle mocny silnik Pikes Peak i Guy wjechał w pierwszy zakręt przede mną. Byliśmy zderzak w zderzak przez cały wyścig i przekroczył linię mety o pół długość maski przede mną. To był sezon, który zawsze będziemy pamiętać!”
Po tym pamiętnym roku samochód został kupiony przez Michela Hommella. Samochód został przywrócony do oryginalnego malowania Lancia Martini i skierowany do muzeum Grupy B. Dziś wyjątkowo oryginalny okaz, z równie niezwykłą historią, wylicytowany został za 810560 euro, czyli prawie 4 miliony złotych.
Sale Parisienne 2021 – 05 february 2021
1986 Lancia Delta S4
Estimation 600,000 – 800,000 €
Sold 810,560 €
Chassis no. 227
– Rare authentic works Group B car
– Competed in Lancia Martini racing colours with Biasion in 1986
– Well-documented history, in current ownership since 1988
– Ex-Bruno Saby, one of the top rally drivers in the 1980s
At the start of Group B, Lancia entered the World Rally Championship with its light and capable 037. But its traditional rear-wheel drive layout had its limitations when compared with competitors such as the Audi Quattro and Peugeot 205 T16, whose four-wheel drive worked wonders.
In order for Lancia to regain its place at the top of the rankings, Cesare Fiorio and Claudio Lombardi decided to start from a blank sheet of paper and created the Delta S4. They wanted to keep its weight under 900 kg and therefore limited the engine capacity to 1759 cc, to comply with the restrictions imposed in the regulations. They developed a new all-aluminium 16-valve engine, which they wanted to match or beat the 450 bhp developed by the Peugeot. To offset the drawbacks of the turbo (lack of power at low revs and delayed response), Lombardi had the original idea of combining a turbo and a mechanical supercharger, the Volumex, resulting in an engine that was both powerful and flexible. Four-wheel drive was essential, and the Ferguson viscous coupling allowed the torque split to be varied from 40/60 front/rear to 100% to the rear. The engine was mounted lengthwise ahead of the rear axle in a tubular chassis strengthened with Kevlar and carbon panels, covered with a fibreglass body styled on the lines of the production Delta.
Planned to enter the rally championship in the middle of the 1985 season, the Lancia Delta S4 finally made its first official appearance in November, on the RAC Rally. It immediately proved its qualities, finishing first and second in the hands of Henri Toivonen and Markku Alen. The following year, the title was a close fight with Peugeot and at the end of the season Lancia was ahead, but the FIA annulled the results of the San Remo Rally, handing victory to Peugeot. Meanwhile, Henri Toivonen was involved in a tragic accident on the Tour de Corse, heralding the end of Group B. It would be reasonable to assume that the experience Lancia gained with the S4 helped it greatly in developing the Delta HF Integrale, which would dominate the world of rallying from 1987 to 1992.
The car for sale
The works Lancia Delta S4 presented here left Abarth’s competition department in 1986 in Group B configuration. In the Lancia Martini colours and registered TO 52127 F, its career got off to a flying start in December 1986, when it finished second in the 'Memorial Bettega', as an official entry driven by Miki Biasion with the racing number 2. Markku Alen was at the wheel of the winning car: chassis number 228, registered TO 52126 F.
With the cancellation of Group B, the cars came to an abrupt standstill, and the manufacturers and drivers turned to other branches of motorsport for which the cars were eligible. This car could thus be seen again in 1987 during the 24 Heures de Chamonix ice race, when Biasion and Saby took turns behind the wheel. The Group B cars were also accepted in another discipline, that of rallycross. These events took place on closed tracks, ensuring a greater degree of safety than rallying. This was the direction taken by this Delta S4, thanks to Saby.
But let’s go back a bit: in 1985 and 1986, Saby was driving for Peugeot and when Group B came to an end, Peugeot invited him to take part in the Paris-Dakar with the 205 Turbo 16. „I turned down their offer as I didn’t feel ready for that kind of long-distance rally”, Saby told us. „And, above all, my dream was to win the Monte-Carlo Rally.” He entered the 'Monte' in 1987 with Lancia Martini, which was fielding the Group A Delta HF 4x4s, but had to retire due to transmission failure when he was among the leaders. He was in luck in January 1988, when he finally fulfilled his dream and won the famous rally.
„After Group B, the manufacturers scaled back their programmes, and in 1988 I therefore had the idea of taking part in the French Rallycross Championship and setting up my own team, Grenoble Sport Auto. Lancia helped me, as did the Hommell Group, which was the instigator of rallycross in France. And with Cesare Fiorio’s agreement, we were able to pick up an official Group B Lancia.” It was number 227. According to Olivier Quesnel, who was running the Hommell Group at the time, „it was intended to go to one of Fiat’s directors, but he agreed to sell it to us, as he believed cars were meant to be used.”
Prepared by Grenoble Sport Auto for this new discipline with official support from Lancia, it sported the colours of 'Métal 5′ and embarked on a fiercely contested season, as Quesnel recalls: „We had one hell of a fight with Peugeot that year. Going into the final round, our teams had five wins each.” Saby continues the story: „Throughout the season, I had been battling against Guy Fréquelin, an old friend and rival, who had a 205 T16. The last round was held at Trappes and we had five wins each, so this last race would be decisive. In rallycross, starting in the lead is essential, as afterwards it’s impossible to overtake. Well, the 205 had an extremely powerful Pikes Peak engine and Guy went into the first corner ahead of me. We were bumper to bumper throughout the race and he crossed the finish line half a bonnet’s length in front of me. That was a season we’ll always remember!”
After this memorable year, the car was bought by Michel Hommell and headed for the museum. „We were in the process of establishing the Group B collection”, Quesnel confirms. „The car was restored to its original Lancia Martini livery and immediately took its place in the museum.”
Today, it is in exceptional original condition, with an equally remarkable history. A works car from the start, in the legendary Martini colours, it was driven by one of the top rally drivers of its time, with support from Turin. Immediately after this, it became part of an exhibition, where its integrity has been preserved. Of all these exceptional cars, it is undoubtedly one of the most authentic works Delta S4s to survive.
„One of its strengths was its engine”
The Lancia Delta S4 was one of the most outstanding cars in Group B. For Bruno Saby, „It was a very well-balanced car for the whole season. One of its strengths was its engine. Thanks to the combination of the turbo and the Volumex supercharger, we had power across the rev range. The Group B cars were exceptional, and I was enormously lucky to have known them. It’s always an emotional moment when I see them at Lohéac and get behind the wheel of my S4 for a few laps of the track.”
Markku Alen, a loyal Lancia driver, knows the S4 well: „The 037’s rear-wheel drive was always a handicap. You couldn’t really win on snow or gravel. We arrived very late with the S4, but I quickly got used to it.”
Roberto Vittone, a former Lancia engineer, adds: „The S4 was fantastic, but we only had it for a year. It started out with 430 bhp and was close to 500 bhp at San Remo, but we didn’t have enough time to develop it. We could have gone further and maybe got another 30% from it.”
(Comments taken from interviews in Classic & Sports Car)
We inform buyers that all the vehicles in the collection have been little used during the last years as they are part of a museum collection. They are sold as presented and therefore require recommissioning before being driven on the road.
COLLECTION MICHEL HOMMELL ET OLIVIER QUESNEL
LE MANOIR DE L’AUTOMOBILE – LOHEAC
At the start of the 1970s, I had the privilege of meeting Michel Hommell and Olivier Quesnel, before they had forged the perfect collaboration.
Olivier, Patrick Tambay’s closest childhood friend, started his career working in PR for the Simca Racing Team, before joining Jean Todt at Peugeot Talbot Sport, and Michel Hommell, a former R8 Gordini Cub competitor, was diversifying his motorsport-themed publishing group, which included the flagship publication ” Echappement „. Following a first dinner they shared the uncanny feeling of having known each other forever. They found reasons to meet, particularly for games of squash where the loser offered the winner a case of wine, and the publisher vowed : ” I will ask you to join me when I have the means to pay for your talents „.
This came to pass in 1984 and six months later, Olivier took over the running of the group. For the next 25 years, the two friends lived in each other’s shadow, working in the same office. Two visionaries, one calm, optimistic and tenacious, the other rigorous, quick-witted with an eye for the big picture.
At the end of the 1980s, in his château in Wideville, Jacky Setton assembled a collection of Formula 1 ” winners „, with a vision, originality and ambition that I have described in ” Une Collection d’Avance „. It was with the same aim that our two accomplices approached the rally discipline, amazed by the performance of these cars and the courage and skill required by the drivers to tame them. Michel and Olivier were boosted by their own involvement, during the 1988 season in the French Rallycross Championship, with the talented Bruno Saby at the wheel of the monstrous Lancia Delta S4 in Metal 5 colours. This S4 would form the cornerstone of a collection they went on to assemble from across Europe, just as these ephemeral and iconic Group B cars were leaving the scene, providing an obvious appeal and a guaranteed authenticity. The Group B room is one of the most thrilling sections of the museum in Lohéac, combining the uncompromising brutality of these victorious beauties with an admiration for the talents of their drivers, tightrope walkers on the fragile thread of life.
In 2008 Olivier was offered the management of Citroën Racing, and Peugeot Sport the following year. The result : 4 driver’s and constructor’s world championship titles for Citroën and two first places at Le Mans in 2009, as well as a World Endurance title in 2011 for Peugeot. Meanwhile, Hommell built himself a kind of feudalism of which he has become the benevolent lord. It offers a celebration, reanimating the sleepy village of Lohéac, a museum, bringing together more than 400 cars, an exhibition of popular Arts and Traditions, and sport, with the creation of a circuit capable of hosting a round of the Rallycross World Championship…
The friendship continues, as strong as ever, summed up by the words of Montaigne talking about La Boétie: ” because it was him, because it was me „.
The collection reflects the personality of these two inseparable competitors !