The 1986 Audi Sport was the scene of a gripping finale to the first year of the Marlboro RAC Autosport National Championship. The fight for the title was between Andrew Wood and Alistair Sutherland with Willie Rutherford snapping at their heels ready to take any advantage of a slip up by either.
Despite Vauixhall giving Wood the development four wheel drive Astra 4S for the event, it was Sutherland in his 6R4 who snatched the title by 8 seconds.
Thrilling as the battle for the National title was it very nearly was eclipsed by the presence of the full Ford World Rally Championship Team. Stig Blomqvist, Kalle Grundle and Mark Lovell brought along their exciting new RS200's for a pre RAC shakedown. Also sizing up the British forests were Mikael Sunderstom in a development Peugeot 205 GTI and Ingvar Carlsson in a four wheel drive Mazda 323 turbo.
There was a healthy 126 car entry helped by single make championships for Astras, Ladas, Skodas, Cosworth Sierras along with the Volkswagen Junior Rally Team's Golf GTi's.
All the 'names' in National rallying appear somewhere on the entry, indeed Colin McRae in his Sunbeam Ti finished two places ahead of Nicky Grist co driving for Callum Guy in the Golf GTi.
The start and finish of the event were moved to the Bitish Hillclimb Championship venue at Loton Park west of Shrewsbury. Here the crews tackled a spectator stage that included the hillclimb course before setting off for seven stages in the usual Welsh forests totalling over 80 miles.
The final stage was a rerun of the Loton Park spectator venue with the formal finish ceremony also taking place here in front of the spectators.