We take a look back at the history of the mud-slinging, gravel-spitting WRC as it celebrates its 40th anniversary

Since 1973, the World Rally Championship has been regarded as the ultimate sporting test of man and machine.

It's a championship which has seen the likes of the Colin McRae, Björn Waldegård, Marcus Grönholm and Richard Burns battle it out in the fiercest of conditions.

Virtually every car that has taken part has become an instant motorsports icon, from the purpose-built Lancia Stratos, to the game-changing Audi Quattro and the ever-familiar Subaru Impreza. 

The WRC has seen its coverage and popularity wane since its inception, but it has a dedicated fanbase and continues to attract new entries, including the new Volkswagen Polo WRC.

Hyundai is also preparing an entry for the 2014 season, in the form of its Hyundai i20 WRC, and recent regulation changes look set to increase the sport's appeal to other manufacturers.

Click through the gallery above to view some of the highlights from the past 40 years of the WRC.

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Comments
1

8 September 2013

Tommi, Tommi, Tommi Zoom. The Opel Ascona 400, was a big favourite of mine, in Rothmans colours. History shows that Ford have a very poor record in WRC, despite the millions spent, over the past 40 years. Which is quite a shame, given some of their Iconic cars.

www.KOOOLcr.com

 

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Our Verdict

Subaru Impreza

It may not be an obvious choice for most buyers, but this four-wheel-drive, sub-£20k hatch does have merit

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week