Mercedes lives good times in their athletic programs. F1, DTM and GT are bets that you are giving to the signing of Stuttgart many joys and successes. However, today we travel to the past to remember the last victory for Mercedes-Benz in the WRC. The German brand also had a presence in World of Rally and today marks 35 years of the last victory harvested in the WRC. It was in the Rally Marlboro Cote d lvoire (Ivory Coast) in 1980 with a Mercedes-Benz 500 SLC driven by the legendary Björn Waldegard, the first champion of the history of the World Rally.
With a WRC car in full growth since its foundation in 1973, few were the brands that were reluctant to try some of their vehicles in the championship. Sometimes in private hands, and others in official training, the diversity of manufacturers in the category was huge. Up to 21 builders different scored in the year 1978, the first season that Mercedes had a presence in the WRC. At that time, it was the Polish Sobieslaw Zasada who piloted a Mercedes 280 E Rally Safari, to forge the early relationships between Mercedes and the rallies african with a sixth place.
Without a computer defined as Fiat, Toyota, Renault or Lancia, the signature of Stuttgart focused their efforts and their successes in the WRC in a rally africans, where they made with the services of the most prominent drivers. In the season 1979 he competed in the Rally Safari and the Rally of Ivory Coast with two units of the Mercedes 450 SLC 5.0, designed to the Swedish Björn Waldegard and another to the fast finn Hannu Mikkola. The victory of Mikkola in the Rally Côte d’ivoire, 1979 and the second place harvested on the Safari were incentive enough for the brand.
It gives you the chance that Björn Waldegard won in 1979, the first
drivers title of the history of the WRC, as it was not until that year
when it introduced this classification. Although the Swedish piloted the
Mercedes 450 SLC 5.0 in the Safari and Ivory Coast, where
finished sixth and second, respectively, what is certain is that the title is
certified in european rounds with six podiums and two victories to the
controls of a Ford Escort RS1800 in the official team of the brand
american. The Mercedes were the ‘plan B’ pilot’s scandinavian
both of these tests.
In any case, 1980 was the year of the greatest
involvement of Mercedes in the WRC, making its debut with the Mercedes 500 SLC.
The brand not only participated in the rallies in africa, but
also scored points in Portugal, Argentina and New Zealand,
finishing fourth in the Constructors ‘ Championship. In that
season Björn Waldegard was the pilot of an ‘official’ of the brand. Ingvar
Carlsson raced a drive of the new Mercedes in Portugal, Andrew Cowan and
the local Vic Preston Jr. did the same in the Rally Safari, Hannu
Mikkola raced in Argentina and New Zealand, and Jorge Recalde in Costa
it Was precisely on the 12th Rally
Marlboro Cote d lvoire in which Mercedes achieved its greatest success.
Björn Waldegard scored the victory with the Mercedes 500 SLC and led the
doublet of the signing of Stuttgart, since Jorge Recalde was second.
In Addition, Vic Preston Jr. was fifth with a third unit. on 14 December 1980 Mercedes closed its presence
in the WRC with the victory of a Mercedes 500 SLC by then, it had a
V8 engine 340 horsepower and an automatic transmission 3
speeds with rear wheel drive. Almost nothing.