#17- Henri Toivonen’s WRC Crash At The 1986 Tour de Corse.
Anyone who knows Group B Rally knows that it was one of the most exciting times in Rally Racing. It was also filled with danger around every corner. The defining moment that put the nail in the coffin for the series was the tragic death of Henri Toivonen when his Lancia 037 careened off a cliff and crashed into a thicket of trees killing the driver instantly.
The 1985 season didn’t start off all that well for Toivonen either as a crash into a brick wall at the Rally Costa Smeralda injured his back and broke three vertebrae in his neck.
Toivonen had been adamant from the start that the Lancia 037 did not suit him as a driver nor did it fit his driving style. To add insult to injury, the Audi and Peugeots frequently had more than 100 HP more than the Lancia so Toivonen had to drive it even harder.
This car was no slouch by any means. The Lancia 037 could easily hit 60 MPH in 2.3 seconds on the gravel.
On May 1,1986 the series brought them to the Tour de Corse (the Island of Corsica.) Toivonenen was feeling sick but he soldiered on. During the second leg of the race the next day at the seventh kilometer, Toivonen’s Lancia plunged off the cliff for an unknown reason. To save weight the fuel tank skid plate wasn’t bolted on. A ruptured fuel tank contributed to the fiery blaze. It didn’t help that the car was also made out of a fire-burning kevlar. Both he and his driver were burned alive.
Within hours the governing body that oversaw Group B scuttled the program ending Group B indefinitely. The cars were deemed “too fast to race.”
Next: #16- Bruce Allen And Kenny Koretsky Crash At Texas.