How DirtFish WiM Summit is recreating 1986

The WRC's most remarkable era will be recreated at DirtFish's Women in Motorsport Summit on Saturday March 2

Olympus Rally, Tacoma (Usa) 04-07 12 1986

Did somebody fire up the flux capacitor? Or fill the DeLorean with plutonium, dial in December, 1986 and touch 88mph? Standing airside at SeaTac last week, it certainly felt that way as cargo doors opened to deposit Group B cars on the Tarmac.

And not just any Group B cars. There’s Markku Alén’s Lancia Delta S4. And Juha Kankkunen’s Peugeot 205 T16 E2. When was the last time two such cars sat alongside each other in Washington state?

Tumwater, just south of Olympus. On Monday December 8, 1986. French mechanics were washing down Kankkunen’s 205. Their mood reflected the typically gloomy Pacific Northwest early winter morning.

Over the way, the Italian’s hadn’t noticed the drizzle. Nothing could wipe their smile. An Olympus Rally win had secured the title for their men: Alén and co-driver Ilkka Kivimäki were world champions. At least they were for the next 11 days, when a controversial Sanremo Rally result was annulled and Kankkunen and Juha Piironen took the silverware to another corner of Finland.

That hotel car park, that dank December Monday morning was where the Group B hangover really kicked in. It was done. Gone.

On the radio, Bruce Hornsby & The Range were America’s most listened to band. The way it is. Across the pond, the UK was all about Europe’s one and only banger. The final countdown.

Rarely has music provided such prescience for the World Rally Championship.

Rally fans across America consoled themselves with the fact that they’d been there. At least they’d seen these cars. At least they could tell their grandchildren, talk of these beautifully enigmatic machines, these supercars of the stage.

S4 plane

It's been a while since a Lancia Delta S4 has squeezed into the cargo hold of a trans-Atlantic flight

Their absence from these shores merely grew the legend. Five hundred horsepower became six hundred. Crowds at the Tacoma Dome were measured in the hundreds of thousands and corner speeds went through the roof. Group B turned fact to fairytale.

And why wouldn’t it? Nobody expected these forest racers to return to America. Until now.

Back to future for DirtFish means turning dreams to reality.

For one day only, our sport’s most glorious hero-makers are back in Washington.

T16 plane

A sight for sore eyes... an ex-Kankkunen Peugeot 205 T16 E2 bound for the Women in Motorsport Summit

The day? Saturday March 2. It’s DirtFish Women in Motorsport day.

That the good news. The even better news? Steve Rimmer, the man who owns these incredible pieces of Group B history, is not stopping at the T16 and S4. There’s the final incarnation of the car that kick-started the revolution. The ultimate manifestation of a car which changed our world.

Audi’s quattro E2.

Just writing about that car gives you goosebumps. Rarely – if ever – has the arrival of three cars sent Washington’s fuel-injected, fever-filled community into such a frenzy. Social media melted in Seattle last week.

Olympus Rally, Tacoma (Usa) 04-07 12 1986

The Alén-driven Delta S4 delivered a Group B win on the 1986 Olympus Rally

Still wondering why? Come to DirtFish on Saturday March 2. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see these cars, hear stories and make memories that will stay with you forever.


“Oh yeah, we have stories coming,” smiled Josie Rimmer.

Met Josie yet? You will. She’s the dream-maker, the one who had the wheel when we hit 88 to wind back the years.

Josie Rimmer
It’s genuinely emotional to see these cars coming back to Washington. Come see them at the Women in Motorsport Summit Josie Rimmer

“It’s genuinely emotional to see these cars coming back to Washington,” Rimmer added. “Stories of what happened at that Olympus Rally in 1986 have been handed down through generations: Kankkunen’s penalty with the battery problem, the puncture for Alén which prompted an incredible run of fastest times from that Delta…

“And now you can come to DirtFish on March 2 and see those cars. And more.”

So much more.

Bringing the cars and the stories to life will be none other than Michèle Mouton, the woman who tamed Group B. Who beat both Alén and Kankkunen.

Join us. We’re going back to the future.