Back when it began: Based in Michigan, the Press-on-Regardless Rally, which began life as a road rally, was a founding round of the WRC with Walter Boyce claiming victory on the 1973 edition driving a Toyota. Juc-Luc Therier won the second and final Press-on-Regardless to count for WRC points the following season.
Famous faces: In terms of numbers the USA can’t lay claim to producing the most WRC drivers by a long shot but it did give the world one of the most famous in Travis Pastrana, the freestyle motocross legend who now races in NASCAR following a five-event stay in a Group N Subaru Impreza, which began on Rally Mexico in 2007.
End of an era: The controversial Group B era came to an end in the USA when the Olympus Rally staged the final event of the 1986 season. Markku Alen, driving a Lancia Delta S4, triumphed.
Lancia’s clean sweep: Lancia won all three editions of the Olympus Rally, the last WRC event to take place in the USA. Following Alen’s victory in 1986, Juha Kankkunen and Miki Biasion won in 1987 and 1988 respectively.
A sad loss: Born in New York, WRC event-winning co-driver, the Italian-American Sergio Cresto never got to tackle his ‘home’ round of the world championship. He was killed along with his driver Henri Toivonen in Corsica in May 1986, seven months before the Olympus Rally formed the season finale.
It’s a Good life: From 2006 until the end of 2007, Michelin’s WRC tyres were rebranded BFGoodrich as part of a marketing exercise to raise awareness. BFGoodrich was the first US producer of tyres in 1896.
Taking the WRC to a new level: When it comes to raising the profile of the WRC in the USA, look no further than Ken Block, whose Gymkhana driving videos have made him an internet sensation. To date, Block has tackled 22 WRC events scoring points three seasons in a row for the Monster World Rally Team.
Buffum was best?: Perhaps the best US WRC driver was John Buffum, who finished third on the Olympus Rally twice. Buffum would later play a key role in the early careers of Block and Pastrana.
WRC gets the X factor: After Colin McRae’s starring role in the rally section of X Games in 2007 when he rolled heading to the finish line, Sebastien Loeb took the event by storm during the summer by winning in a highly-tweaked Citroen DS3 (pictured). Sadly the competition was marred when WRC title winner Marcus Gronholm was injured during a practice crash.
All credit to Sir Henry: While Ford of Europe has been the big backer of the Blue Oval’s WRC activities, none of it would have happened had it not been for the company founder Henry Ford, an American no less, albeit the son of an Irishman whose family move to Ireland from England.