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Race for Glory: Audi vs Lancia

Race for Glory: Audi vs Lancia

With Rush and Ford vs Ferrari in mind, Metropolitan Films has attempted to tell the story of the 1983 WRC season and the rivalry between two teams. Petter is ready to vomit...

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The WRC (World Rally Championship) was founded in 1972 and just 11 years later it had become the world's biggest motorsport. The WRC made a meteoric rise as an organisation and a form of racing. Fans flocked to the live races, TV viewers numbered in the millions, and sponsors as well as car manufacturers and star drivers lined up. The WRC in those days was something completely different from what it is today. Not because the form of the race has fundamentally changed, but because the popularity and sense of risk and danger is never quite conveyed in the same way anymore. For its time, in 1983, the WRC was a death trap - something that of course played into the sport's major setbacks.

The 1983 WRC season is, of course, legendary for us rally fans. This was that promised, insane, deadly Group B era where cars weighed very little, had up to 400 horsepower and the downforce of a normal sized bidet. Every single team ran on driver capability, courage and power, creating a whole host of iconic, unforgettable motorsport moments. BMW, Lotus, Porsche, Nissan, Citroen, Opel, Peugeot and Toyota stood virtually no chance against the two WRC giants of the day; Lancia and especially Audi and for the 1983 season the rivalry between these teams was greater than ever. Audi had borrowed some of the differential technology from its armoured car development for the German army and created an all-wheel drive system that had led to a dominant walkover victory the previous year. The following year, Italy's Lancia stood ready at the starting line with a sharpened 037, prepared to do just about anything to win and become world rally champion in 1983. By any means necessary.

Lancia cheated. They cheated the FIA with how many homologated 037s they produced for the street, they lied, bought three tonnes of salt and spread it during the night before the Monte Carlo rally to remove Audi's advantage (the A1 was consistently much faster on gravel and especially snow/ice) and they delayed starts to let gravel dust settle in Greece by faking a broken seat belt. Everything was allowed, rallying was a bit of a lawless country at this time and the amount of prize money and advantages in terms of each manufacturer's "regular" car sales meant that many teams fought to the very last drop of blood.

Race for Glory: Audi vs Lancia

The newly released Race for Glory aims to capture all this. It's clear that director Stefano Mordini has watched both Rush and Ford vs Ferrari 122,000 times and tried to build a film on the same premise. Competitive spirit, cheating, rivalry, engineering brilliance, arms race... But there's really nothing in this mess of a film that works. For a start, Race for Glory is described as being "inspired by the truth" rather than based on, which is utterly bizarre given that the reality in this respect easily outstrips the fiction. The 1983 WRC circuit was so exciting, tight and full of fantastic incidents that it could easily have been portrayed with 100% truthfulness rather than the 60% offered here, and I just can't fathom many of the changes made. For example, legendary Audi driver Michèle Mouton is barely visible despite being a very important part of Audi's success, and Stickan Blomquist is not included here either.

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Instead, Audi rally boss Roland Gumpert is portrayed as a very mean final boss, arrogant and rude, while Lancia/Martini boss Cesare Fiorio is portrayed as a misunderstood Mother Teresa, even though Lancia was the team that cheated the most throughout the 1983 season. Sure, Audi's team in reality had a bigger budget than Lancia, but the way it is portrayed here is just ridiculous. When Rally Sweden is on the menu, the film tries to make us believe that Lancia primarily skipped the entire event to save money when it was basically about the fact that they knew in advance that they were 100% completely hopeless against Audi's four-wheel drive cars and then had a top driver (Walter Röhrl) who hated snow and refused to go to Scandinavia to compete. The whole film is littered with these kinds of unnecessary twists and rewrites of what really happened, and it pissed me off when I saw it.

If you care much less about rally and rally history than I do, this is still a terrible film. The script is stiltedly bad, the dialogue seems like it was created by AI and the actors really struggle with their pancake-flat characters. There's no depth here, no personality other than that of the grumpy Röhrl and the mean Gumpert (both portrayals feel ridiculously overpowered) and the drama they try to build misses its target entirely. In addition, there are rally sequences where it is incredibly clear that the 037 and A1 were filmed at low speeds with a shaky camera and then fast-forwarded. It doesn't look right. It doesn't look like a rally. It doesn't look fast, and when you drown these sections in "dramatic music" it's just ridiculous.

While Rush managed to both create excitement, nerves and entertain throughout with accurate portrayals and fantastic racing (yes, Lauda was unnecessarily thick and Hunt unnecessarily arrogant compared to reality, but it helped the story, which does not happen in Race for Glory) and Ford vs Ferrari managed to convey what actually happened during Le Mans 1966, this film does not succeed in anything. If I am to look (with extra lights and a lantern) for something positive in Race for Glory: Audi vs Lancia, it is of course wonderful to see top-fresh versions of the Lancia 037 and Audi Quattro spinning some coarse gravel, but I can also do that on YouTube and avoid suffering 93 minutes of Italian rubbish.

02 Gamereactor UK
2 / 10
A rarely interesting motorsport season has turned into a remarkably useless film with zero respect for what really happened.
overall score
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Race for Glory: Audi vs Lancia

Race for Glory: Audi vs Lancia

MOVIE REVIEW. Written by Petter Hegevall

With Rush and Ford vs Ferrari in mind, Metropolitan Films has attempted to tell the story of the 1983 WRC season and the rivalry between two teams. Petter is ready to vomit...

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