After 32 Years out of the Sport, Lancia Is Returning to Rallying

by Steven Cole Smith
29 May 2024 2 min read
After 32 Years out of the Sport, Lancia Is Returning to Rallying
Photos courtesy Stellantis

This should be much-needed shot in the arm for rallying, and specifically the FIA World Rally Championship: Lancia, a legendary brand within the sport, is returning the WRC.

Lancia quit rallying, all forms of motorsports for that matter, in 1992. This past year, the rumour mill has run at full tilt that the company would have a new entry in rallying, something that parent entity Stellantis confirmed on Monday.

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Lancia Ypsilon HF hood detail

The vehicle will be loosely based on the Ypsilon HF, which Stellantis calls “a high-performance version of the first car of the brand’s new era, a 100-percent electric model that will be launched in the market in May of 2025.” Which is kind of confusing, because the rally car, the Ypislon Rally 4 HF, is decidedly an internal-combustion vehicle. It will be powered by a 1.2-litre turbocharged, 212bhp three-cylinder engine, mated to a five-speed manual transmission and a mechanical limited-slip differential.

Lancia also announced the revival of the high-performance HF designation with both the new electric model and the rally version of the Ypsilon. Lancia will be introducing an HF version for each of the brand’s new models.

The Ypsilon Rally 4 HF “is the ideal solution for all rally enthusiasts to enjoy,” Stellantis claims, “but is also a serious candidate for drivers aspiring to victory in the Rally 4 class and in the two-wheel drive championships.” The Rally 4 class is essentially an entry point into pro rallying, populated by “young drivers beginning their careers with a passion to become the professionals of the future.”

The Rally 4 class was created in 2019 as part of the “rally pyramid” – a clear blueprint of how a driver and team can climb the pyramid up to Rally 1, the elite class in the WRC.

The Lancia will be competing with models from manufacturers that include Stellantis-owned Peugeot and Opel, as well as Renault. The announcement was made during the WRC Rally Italia Sardegna, Lancia’s home rally and the sixth event on a 13-event calendar.

Lancia Ypsilon HF rear 3/4

Despite not competing for more than three decades, Lancia is still the most successful brand in the sport, with 15 World Rally Championships (11 constructor’s titles and four driver’s titles), as well as wins in the Mille Miglia, the Targa Florio and the Carrera Panamericana. Martini Racing teamed with Lancia in 1982 for the then-new Lancia 037 and drivers Attilio Bettega and Markku Alén, creating the famous red, white and blue exterior colour scheme.

This could be just the start of a serious effort on Lancia’s part to return to glory on the rally circuit. According to, it’s possible that Lancia could absorb Citroën’s C3 Rally 2 effort, which is plausible since that company is also controlled by Stellantis. Its customer racing manager Didier Clements “was one of the masterminds of Citroën’s generation of world championship domination with Sébastien Loeb.”

Regardless, it’s a happy day for Lancia enthusiasts, said company CEO Luca Napolitano, in this slightly awkward translation: “Lancia has always been in people’s hearts, also thanks to its competitive soul represented by some iconic models from a past that made the brand the most successful one of all time in the rally world. And that sporty heart is starting to beat again today!”

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