‘Russian RAC Rally Revolution of 1988’ - otherwise known as the Lada works supported team entry of the Lombard RAC rally of that year.
A total of 9 Samaras! lined up to compete on that years rally - 6 cars arriving from overseas to join the 3 UK drivers - Geoff Warkup , Dave Johnson and Guy Anderson. A rumoured 10th car to be driven by the great man himself Andy Dawson using Geoff Warkups 1988 championship car in the end did not materialise.
After one seasons development of the UK dealer team Samaras in the UK largely undertaken by its drivers and Dawson Auto Development, Lada were set to launch the Samara 1500 in one of its key export markets and the RAC rally team prize was the goal of the team that year, and a suitable ‘Skoda like’ marketing opportunity.
Over the years I’ve collected a books worth of stories and tales from this event from those involved, too many to tell today. One of my favourites however is from car 110 which was excluded from the event due to the driver being arrested for being towed - not a breach of the law you would think, until you know that the car was breaking the speed limit on a motorway - as it was being towed!
Despite such dramas the goal of the event was reached with Lada winning the team prize from that year, and achieving 2 and 3rd in class A6 beaten only by Per Eklund in a turbocharged Nissan - with many of the cars having the benefit of being ‘improved with the UK supplied components without ‘complex export and import bureaucracy’.
Sadly despite this great result Lada UK withdrew its support for the official dealer team Samaras following this event, after plans for a full British international championship campaign in the developed cars had been in planning. With the increasing competitiveness of the cars during their development in year - I feel it was a great shame, and that many great results were still to come.
Keywords:Lada, Lada Samara
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