The Battle of Waterloo may have been won on the playing fields of Eton, but the 1976 World Rally Championship was won in the boardrooms of Turin.
True, the Stratos was far and away the best rally car of the year. Lancia's main rivals, Fiat, spent the year developing their new 131 but only managed to get it to the finish once. But as Fiat owned Lancia they could have just asked the little team from down the road to stand aside and let them through.
|Anders Kulland, Opel Kadett GTE, Monte Carlo Rallye|
The Lancias didn't have it all their own way though. Accidents allowed Saab to reclaim the Swedish rally and Africa and Greece again defeated them, although in Kenya they came very close. The high drama though came in Sanremo.
|Munari in Morocco|
|Roger Albert Clark winning the RAC|
The car and driver were clearly capable of winning the event so what was the problem? A few weeks later the world knew the answer. Corporate politics in Turin had intervened again and Lancia had been told that it was Fiat who were to be given the chance at the title next year. Lancia had achieved their hat trick, but that was to be that.