Once upon a time, Group B rally cars ruled the earth. Or rallying, that is. This was in the 1980s and these cars were so fast and dangerous that eventually these Group B monsters (like the Lancia Delta S4 and the Audi Quattro S1) were banned. This was quite logical at that point of time as there were horrid accidents that claimed the lives of the drivers and navigators. The cars were built without compromise for speed and this actually made things dangerous for its occupants. Unlike this story which I am about to tell where a Honda Insight Hybrid rally car gets banned for winning rallies over in the UK.
This hybrid Honda competed in the Formula 1000 Tarmac Rally Series and was officially requested to withdraw due to complains by rival teams stating that the hybrid rally car has an unfair advantage. It was deemed to have dominated the championship with a 19 point lead by coming in first twice and second once in the first three rounds that had taken place. The Oaktec team running the Honda Insight Hybrid have been requested to withdraw from the Formula 1000 rally series and compete in a higher class to make all these spoil-sports happy.
The Honda Insight Hybrid rally car uses a tuned petrol engine as well as an electric motor to give it power and fuel efficiency. The Lancaster based Oaktec team had been developing the car for almost 6 years and the car can achieve 100mpg when driven conservatively. It is also the only rally car that runs on a specially developed CVT gearbox. Never have I heard anyone running an automatic type transmission in rallying. It is usually manual or sequential gearboxes.
Anyway, Oaktec had stated that they will comply with the request to participate in a high rally category. Whatever the case, even though I do not actually fancy hybrids, I also do not actually fancy spoil-sports and rally teams that whine about unfair advantage. Now what is the actual advantage given is actually hard to say as the car still came in second, meaning some other normal petrol or diesel powered car came first. As if the other teams in the Formula 1 GP are kicking Red Bull out because Sebastian Vettel for winning nearly every F1 GP race this season.
Eventually the world of motorsport will be filled with hybrids and electric cars as the powers that be will request motorsport promote the use of eco-friendly race cars that take into account carbon emissions and other environmental issues.
Oh, and one more thing. Aren't the other teams ashamed a wimpy looking hybrid like the Honda Insight with skinny tires and rear wheelarch covers can beat the crap out of normal 1400cc petrol powered rally cars?