A year, A picture :  Tour de Corse 1987
Bernard Béguin & Jean-Jacques Lenne (BMW M3) © DPPI

A year, A picture : Tour de Corse 1987

07/01/2016

After the Tour de Course 1986, the FISA forbade the Group B cars to compete because they became too dangerous. That’s why, in 1987, we saw the advent of the Group A, especially during the Tour de Corse. Bernard Béguin, winner of the rally in 1987, tells us about his experience.

MOTORSPORT - WORLD SERIES BY RENAULT 2010 - MAGNY-COURS (FRA) - 17 TO 20/06/2010 - PHOTO : GREGORY LENORMAND / DPPI - _NICOLAS DESCHAUX - JEAN RAGNOTTI - BERNARD BEGUIN - AMBIANCE PORTRAIT

At the end of 1986, the consistent accidents of the Group B and the loss of Toivonen during the Tour de Corse forced the FISA to end the Group B. It was for the best because the cars were indeed too dangerous for the race. My victory in 1987 goes in hand with the advent of the Group A.

The new ruling clearly helped my success, but did not make it easy either. At the end of 1985, Porsche ended its program, although I was its official pilot. I then decided to sign for one season on circuit with BMW. As a continuation of this season, we developed the BMW M3 for rallying. We had really tight deadlines. Indeed, we ran our first kilometers only one month before the beginning of the Tour de Corse 1987, during the Rallye des Garrigues and Rallye de Touraine which counted for the French Championship.

 The day before the start of the Tour de Corse 1987, we had some trials concerning adjustments to make on the suspensions all the way until midnight. We were far from being favorites, especially against the Lancia and its four-wheel drive driven by Miki Biasion and Yves Loubet. However, with my co-driver Jean-Jacques Lenne, we took the lead of the Rallye as soon as the first Special Stage (SS), and kept the lead until the SS5.

 During this latter one, a snow and hail storm poured down on the Col de la Vaccia. We had to face these horrible conditions with slicks tires as the storm only started when we lined up at the beginning of the race. I really thought that we would lose the Tour at that moment. With our two-wheel drive car, I did not think we could make it to the top of the mountain pass. We still managed to make it thanks to a very clean driving, and Yves Loubet took the lead only a few kilometers before the finish line.

Thinking back on it, I believe that this is the moment, when I thought we had lost the race, that we actually won it, by minimizing the time loss on Yves. On the next day, Yves drove on a curve and got a flat tire. We both attacked at the maximum that day, it could have been my car as well, but the risks paid off and we took the lead. I then had enough lead to handle the race until the end. It was certainly, my most important success, because it counted for the World Rally Championship (WRC), but maybe not my most intense in a sport way, as my performance during the Tour de Course 1982 (stole the third place to Walter Röhrl) is still a reference for me.

In 1988, we were supposed to come back to the WRC, but the BMW ‘big board’ decided otherwise. They were afraid we could not compete on the Monte-Carlo’s snow with our two-wheel drive. Unluckily for them, the Monte-Carlo 1988 was one of the driest ever ran! The Tour de Corse 1987 is then the only BMW M3 victory on a WRC race.

 

Podium :

  1. Bernard Béguin – Jean-Jacques Lenne (BMW M3)
  2. Yves Loubet – Jean-Bernard Vieu (Lancia Delta HF 4WD)
  3. Massimo Biasion – Tiziano Siviero (Lancia Delta HF 4WD)

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