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  Home > Seasons > Season 1997
WRC joins WRC
1997 saw many changes in the championship. Points scoring was made consistent across the FIA championships, World Rally Car -concept was introduced, events became shorter and more compact, event rotation system was dropped and registered manufacturers were required to contest all 14 events for a first time.

During the year it became apparent that timing the stages to a second was not sufficient as there were more and more tight finishes. Timing duly changed to tenth of a second next season.

Tight fight
Interestingly drivers championship was very tightly contested whereas in manufacturers championship Subaru romped from success to success. Third crown for blue team came with good margin despite experiencing serious problems mid-season.

These problems frustated Colin's bid for drivers title and despite strong comeback when he won three last events of the season, title went to Tommi by single point. Quite the reversal of the situation finn would be in only year later.

New cars
Season opener Monte Carlo witnessed debut of a new car from all three works teams. Mitsubishi had opted to continue with Group A regulations and proudly presented fourth evolution of Lancer. Subaru instead had striking new Impreza WRC whereas hastily formed new Ford team had built WRCar of proven Escort.

Later in the season third World Rally Car was debuted by TTE in form of radical new Toyota Corolla WRC.

(Click picture to see larger version in a pop-up window)
1997 FIA World Rally Champions Tommi Makinen and Seppo Harjanne Click picture to see larger version in a pop-up window
Drivers scoring their
first win
  P. Liatti (Monte Carlo)
first drivers' point
  H. Lundgaard (Monte Carlo)
  F. Dor (Safari)
  G. Panizzi (Catalunya)
  P. Hagstrom (Finland)
  K. Singh (Indonesia)
first stage win
  R. Burns (Safari)
  R. Madeira (Portugal)
  G. Panizzi (Catalunya)
  P. Andreucci (San Remo)