Various advance statements have been made by FIA officials concerning the make-up of the 1994 World Rally Championship, some contradicting others, but when the final official list was published there were only 10 rounds in the main part of the championship, all counting for both drivers’ and makes’ series.
Five of those events also qualify for the FIA 2-Litre World Cup contest, plus another three which are the events which were dropped from the 13 qualifiers of 1993.
The list is as follows, with an asterisk indicating those which also qualify for the 2-Litre World Cup: January 22-27, Monte-Carlo Rally; March 1-4, Portugal Rally *; March 31-April 3, Safari Rally; May 4-8, Tour of Corsica; May 29-31, Acropolis Rally*; June 29-July 2, Argentina Rally; July 30-August 2, New Zealand Rally; August 25-28, 1000 Lakes Rally*; October 10-13, Sanremo Rally*; November 20-23, RAC Rally*. The additional 2-Litre World Cup qualifiers are: February 4-6, Swedish Rally; September 17-20, Australia Rally; November 1-4, Cataluna Rally.
By the time this issue of Motor Sport appears, the Monte-Carlo Rally will be about over and we will know how a brace of modern Minis fared against the sophisticated, electronically governed machinery of today’s works teams. Around Christmas time there was certainly plenty of snow on the Alpine passes over which the rally will have passed, but whether that will have stayed in place remains, at the time of writing, to be seen.
Although not qualifying for drivers’ or makes’ points, the second main event of the year is the Swedish Rally and, by all accounts, there will be plenty of snow in Värmland this time. The organisers are certainly banking on it, because they have included a special stage on the ice of the river Klarälven near StöIlet, which has not been used for some years.
After the Swedish Rally, the Portuguese Rally will this year not have the backing of the country’s port wine industry. Instead, it returns to being the TAP Rally of Portugal, with the support of the national airline and the tourist organisation. It will start and finish at Estoril, as in the past, and will have two night stops at Pòvoa de Varzim and another at Viseu. The four legs will have 11, eight, nine and eight special stages respectively, making up 358 miles of the total distance of 1,376. All the stages of the first day will be on tarmac roads, whilst the rest will be on dirt.
Later in the year, the RAC Rally, again sponsored by Network Q, will be based at Chester. Two night stops will also be there, the third at Harrogate. The number of special stages will be cut to a maximum of 30, although the competitive distance will be about the same.
Traditionally awarded at the time of the RAC Rally has been what was called the Golden Halda. It has been presented for some 20 years to the person considered to be the co-driver of the year.
Instigated by Gunnar Palm, himself a co-driver with a string of successes to his credit, the Golden Halda trophy is no longer presented. In its place is the Peltor Golden Headset. One Swedish company decides that perhaps 20 years in enough, and a compatriot, also with strong rallying links, takes over.
The 21st person to be considered co-driver of the year, and first winner of the Peltor Golden Headset was Daniel Grataloup, co-driver of Francois Deleçour in the Ford team. The Frenchman was given the trophy in Birmingham, and Palm was there to make the presentation.