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September 26th 2007

Lancia Rally Part II: The Delta HF and Integrale Lancias.

Story and Photos by Hugh Doran

Read Part I.

Delta HF 4WD 1986-1987
The demise of Group B left Lancia in a little bit of a pickle. The top flight of rallying from 1987 was going to be Group A and Lancia didnít have a car for this category as they had been concentrating on the Group B program. However a 1995cc, 258 hp turbocharged Delta was fitted with four wheel drive, painted in the now familiar colors of Martini and sent along to the Monte Carlo rally. Like the S4 before it, it won first time out. Lancia had yet another rally winner on its hands and this time it was with a car that the company had never intended to rally. The Lancia Delta was about to become one of the greatest rally cars in history.

An earlier Delta S4 quietly sits in the Goodwood paddock.

Nine wins were taken in 1987, all of them on the world stage. Lanciaís new car crowned Juha Kankkunen champion, took the manufactures title and took the European Championship in the hands of Dario Cerrate. The HF 4WD was not without its faults - the wheel arches were too small meaning that Lancia had to use smaller wheels than they wanted to. However a rule change for the Ď88 season gave Lancia the chance to address the failing of the HF.

Lancia Delta HF Integrale 1987-1989
The Lancia Delta HF Integrale entered service in the same way that its predecessors had--by winning. Lancia were only beaten once in 1988 - not bad for a new car. In fact they went 12 months and 12 rallies with out losing. Miki Biasion was crowned World Rally Champion, becoming the first Italian to obtain that title. The main difference between the Integrale and the HF to the naked eye was the extended wheel arches, and extra vents were cut into the hood. Under the skin there was a larger intercooler and larger Garret T3 turbocharger. Officially the power output was 280bhp, unofficially power output was reckoned to be closer to 400bhp. The FIA had imposed a rule that restricted power output, but never got around to policing it!. Thus the actual power output of the cars is only really known by those that built them.

Delta Integrale Evo 1 - seen hear in Safari specification with bull bars. This was the last of the Martini Lancias from 1992

Lancia Delta HF Integrale 16V 1989-1991
Towards the back end of 1989 Lancia rolled out the 16v version of the Integrale on the rally of San Remo. Naturally it won first time out, this time in the hands of Miki Biasion. However the Lancia management must have had a mild panic when Didier Auriol rolled out of the event.. This time however there was something different about the Lanciaís. Yes they were still in Martini livery, but instead of being white the cars were red. This is the only time the factory cars appeared in Italian racing red.

Extra torque was the main reason given for the introduction of the 16v head. but in fact that the Japanese manufacturers were beginning to catch the Deltaís and could smell blood. The Lancia lost the driver's world championship to Toyota-equipped Carlos Sainz, although Lancia were still took the manufactures title back to Turin, and Robert Droogmans took the European title. Things may have been different if Lancia had sorted the break problems that the car suffered on tarmac earlier. This is reinforced by the then semi-works Jolly Club team who believed the new Delta to be half a second per kilometer quicker than the old car.

The roof spoiler identifies this as a Delta HF Integrale Evo1 - this was Juha Kannkkenenís car from the 1992 Safari rally.

The HF Integrale 16v wasnít all doom and gloom as this was the car that dominated the 1991 world championship, taking giving Lancia yet another manufactures title. Juha Kankkunen became champion for the third time on the world stage and Piero Liatti was crowned European champion. Letís not forget that when all was said and done the Delta HF Integrale 16V took 13 world rally wins in a career lasting two and a half years - this made the car the hardest working Integrale of them all.

Lancia Delta HF Integrale EVO 1 1991-1992
As 1992 came along so did what was to become the last incarnation of the Delta Integrale. Officially this was still known as the Delta Integrale HF, however the majority of people refer to it as either the Integrale Evolution or the Super Delta. The latter being a rather silly name in this authorís eyes. For the record the Evolution, or "Evo" tag was far more appropriate as Lancia had tweaked here and there. Delta HF Integrale Evo1 and Evo2 were the last great rally Lancias. The most obvious difference was the roof spoiler which is the easiest was to identify these latter cars.

1992 proved to be quite a vintage year for Lancia. Eight wins were taken, including the cars debut rally thanks to Didier Auriol, but little did we know at the time that Andrea Aghiniís win in Sanremo was to be Lanciaís last in the world rally championship. At the end of the year the team packed the Martini livered cars away, returned to Turin and put their feet up. The dream was over.

It wasnít the end for the Delta through. Carlos Sainz rallied one in 1993 - without any really success. Second place in Greece was the best that could be done, espite the fact that Lamborghini were now on board tweaking the engines. The trouble was that the Intergrale was past its "sell by" date.

Today rallying is very different to how it was in the 1980ís and 1990ís - not all the changes have been for the better, but that is another story. The Delta Integrale is now a legend, where as the 037 and Delta S4 are, sadly, largely forgotten. One thing that still remains is peoples fondness for the Martini Lanciaís - oh happy days.

Read book review, "Lancia Delta HF Integrale".

Past Issues


Ferrari 712 Can Am

Articles on or about OSCA

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Fiat Dino, Body

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Serenissima F1

Winningest OSCA

Alfa 164 V10

Ramponi's Delage

OSCA Berlinettas

Maserati 250F Remembered

Lancia Rally Delta and Integrale

Lancia Rally 037 and S4

Alpine Adventures

Bandini, Giaurs, Siatas etc.

Alpine A110

Classic Fiat 500s in Turin

New Fiat 500 hits the streets

New Fiat 500 Intro

Fiat 500 Restoration

Fiat 500 pushed and pulled

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Giulietta Sprint Veloce Part 2

Giulietta Sprint Veloce Part 1

Fortune 500 (Fiat)

Giulietta Racing Part 2

Giulietta Racing P1

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Appia Series 2

Appia Restoration

Appia Series 1

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