Picture of the week: A nod to the USA’s WRC past

Amid total Lancia domination of the Olympus Rally in the late 1980s, Toyota's Lars-Erik Torph produced a sterling drive

Olympus Rally Tacoma (USA) 26-29 06 1987

If you’ve been struggling to beat the Humpday blues today, we might just have your cure.

A Toyota Supra, pushed to the ragged edge with the tail swinging along some of the best gravel stages in the world.

You can’t say fairer than that, can you?

The USA is the talk of the rallying world this week after the successful running of Rally USA’s test event in Chattanooga on Saturday, with anticipation equally building ahead of next weekend’s DirtFish Olympus Rally in the American Rally Association.

But as much as we’re looking forward to another epic battle in the Pacific Northwest in 2023, it never harms to look back, does it?

With the help of the Girardo & Co. Archive – which houses millions of awesome shots from years gone by and that are all available to purchase for yourself – that’s exactly what we’ve done.

Olympus’ brief three-year stay in the WRC is best remembered for either Markku Alén’s victory in 1986 – the last ever rally for the iconic Group B supercars – or 1988 as Miki Biasion’s win was the last for a WRC driver in the US.

Olympus Rally Tacoma (USA) 26-29 06 1987

But whether it’s ’86, ’87 or ’88, Lancias are often the cars you’ll see in any Olympus WRC memorabilia as the Italian marque – as it so often did during this period – won all three.

So, the gorgeous shot you’re looking at is, very deliberately, of Lars-Erik Torph’s Toyota as the Swede turns on the style and kicks up the loose stones for the camera.

Unfortunately, Torph’s rally wouldn’t last too long as his engine let go on the third of five legs, dropping him out of ninth place. Team-mate, fellow Swede and 1979 world champion Björn Waldegård was left to uphold Toyota honors in sixth – albeit some 18 minutes down on rally winner Juha Kankkunen.

Next year’s Rally USA could be very different though if the country’s bid to make the 2024 calendar proves successful.

A GR Yaris Rally1 finishing no higher than sixth really would be a shock.

It probably wouldn’t look as good doing it as Torph’s Supra did, though. Sorry Tom Fowler…

Words:Luke Barry