Four titles of the Polish Rally Champion, including two for the Toyota Motor Poland team. In 1993-98 it was one of the best WRC cars in the world. Celica GT-Four has become an icon of Polish rallies. She is associated not only with the legendary Carlos Sainz, but also with the triumphs of Gieruszczak, Hołowczyc and Gryczyński.
If the average Kowalski had been asked in the early 1990s what the word "Toyota" meant to him, he would have undoubtedly repulsed "Corolla". The world's bestseller produced for 62 years was then - on the threshold of great political changes in Poland - the object of dreams of many Poles. Over the years, the car was sold exclusively for the motherland's motherland in the POL-MOT network, it was also an award in the Miss Polonia competition.
Rally fans would probably also mention the Corolla GT, because since the 1986 season the famous rear-wheel drive Hachi-Roku (AE86) has been successful on Polish rally routes. Then Mariusz Kostrzak and Marcin Augustyn won the first Polish victory for Toyota. Mariusz Kostrzak, representing AK Śląski won the 20th Warsaw Rally 86' and took first place in the general classification of RSMP drivers 1986.
It was at the end of the 1980s that Toyota Team Europe (TTE) put up a new, dangerous weapon - the Celica GT-Four (ST165). In 1983-86 her famous predecessor Celica Twin-Cam Turbo (TA64) won the murderous Safari Rally three times, earning the honorable nickname "King of Africa". In Poland, until Carlos Sainz, who won 2 WRC Rally World Championship titles for Toyota, Celica was a little known car. Only a few sports fans remembered that the rally debut of the model in our country took place as early as November 1973 on the route of the 11th Polish Fiat International Warsaw Rally. It was the Toyota Celica1600 GT of the Swedish Lundström/Sager crew. By the end of the decade several copies of Celika had appeared at the Rally of Poland many more times, but it was competed by Swedes, Danes and competitors from Germany. The era of Toyota Celika's extraordinary successes in Polish sport began only in spring 1991.
Time for 4WD
The 1980s was a period in which four-wheel drive cars completely eliminated "axles" from rally oes - vehicles with front or (less frequently) rear drive. The team, which had ambitions to win or a significant place, had to arm themselves with a 4x4 car. It was a period of great technological breakthrough in the WRC. After the liquidation of Group B, the turbocharger also became an indispensable element of the rally car. Toyota engineers have been testing various turbocharger variants, including a system of two turbochargers in the Celica Twin-Cam Turbo.
The first four-wheel drive Celica debuted in October 1986 as ST165 (2.0, 185 to 225 hp). The car was manufactured for another three years. The rally version with Group A homologation was driven by a 4-cylinder, 2-litre turbo unit with the symbol 3S-GTE (power from 265 to 300 hp). On May 3, 1988 Celica ST165 of the Finnish Kankkunen/Piironen crew took part in the 32nd edition of the Tour de Corse, but they did not manage to complete the rally. At that time, the TTE engineers in Cologne perfected the design. The day of triumph of ST165 with registration number K-AM 5108 took place on 17 September 1989 in Perth (Australia), when Kankkunen and Piironen stood on the highest podium of the 2nd edition of the Commonwealth Bank Rally.
In the same month, a serial version of the second generation of the Celica GT-Four model was introduced to the world markets, with the factory code ST185 (1989-93). In Toyota salons, the car was offered with a normal coupé body (until 1991) or with widened fenders (the so-called video body). On the US and Canadian market, the serial four-wheel drive version was called "All-Trac Turbo". (2.0/200 hp engine), in Japan and Europe, as Celica GT-Four (the name GT-4 was also unofficially used) with a 2 litre 3S-GTE turbo unit of 241 hp.
The Toyota Celica GT-Four was produced in small quantities in 3 generations:
The cars were assembled at the Toyota plant in Tahara (Aichi Prefecture, Japan) in cooperation with Toyota Team Europe. Group A rally vehicles were custom-built in Cologne. Celica GT-Four has become an icon of WRC rallies. It was driven and won by the leading drivers of the 1990s, including Didier Auriol and Carlos Sainz, winner of 2 World Rally Championship titles for Toyota.
Rally Celica in Poland
As late as 1990 the Polish rally routes were dominated by the rear-drive Corolle AE86. One of the best competitors was Marek Gieruszczak (Automobile Club Karkonoski). On September 23rd 1990, piloted by Maciej Maciej Maciejewski, he won the A-12 Class in the Vistula Rally, winning the 5th place in the general classification. At the turn of 1990 and 1991, Gieruszczak moved to the front drive Corolla 1600 GT-i (AE92) for a short time and in February 1991 he won second place in the 7th Lower Silesian Winter Rally. During this time he managed to get sponsors and bought a used copy of the A-group GT-Four ST165 from one of the Western teams.
The change of driving technique from an "axle" to a 4x4 vehicle required intensive training, but the effort quickly paid off. On 18 May 1991 Gieruszczak and Maciejewski reached the finish line of the 19th edition of the Elmot Rally in Świdnica in 3rd position. The mechanics made sure that the engine and mechanisms of the GT-Four worked perfectly. Then it got better and better. Gieruszczak took second place in the 22nd Festival Rally (6-7 July 1991). At the end of the season Maciejewski was replaced by Marek Skrobot in the right armchair. The drive on both axles, excellent technique and extraordinary will to fight ensured Gieruszczak the title of RSMP Rally Vice-Champion in 1991. The first season of Celika GT-Four on the routes of Polish rallies was a success.
Time for Toyota Motor Poland!
On 31 December 1990, Toyota Motor Poland was established - an official representative of the Japanese concern in Poland. In the following year, numerous Toyota salons were opened. In 1991, TMPL's offer included Celica (ST185). Piotr Chodzeń, the owner of Toyota and Lexus showrooms mentions that the first copies of the car have been ordered since May 1991. One of the few buyers was world-famous cinematographer Witold Adamek, cinematographer of Krzysztof Kieślowski's famous "Dekalog".
In the official price list of TMPL dealers from February 1992, a vehicle in the 2.0 GTi version equipped with, among others, power steering and ABS system cost almost PLN 328 million, i.e. the equivalent of 2.5 Corolls in the base 3-door version 1.3 XL. In order to better understand the price realities of that time, it is worth reminding that the average monthly earnings in Poland at that time were about PLN 2.9 million, and the then popular Polonaise Caro 1.5 GLE cost less than PLN 80 million. So Celica was an expensive car and rarely seen on Polish roads. Nevertheless, the TMPL became interested in Gieruszczak's successes and supported his starts in the 1992 season. The seeds of the official Toyota championship team in Poland were created.
At the end of 1992, Paweł Przybylski and Krzysztof Hołowczyc joined the private teams supported by Toyota Motor Poland. The 1993 season turned out to be a breakthrough: it was then that the official TMPL rally team was formed, but the first event involving this team was the 40th Wisła Rally, held in September 1992 near Szczyrk. He was headed by Ryszard Żyszkowski, an experienced driver and pilot of Polish rally champions, including the legendary Marian Bublewicz (1950-93). The technical team of the TMPL team includes experienced rally mechanics: Krzysztof Czepan, Sławomir Wąsowski and Jacek Wojtyczko. They had a lot of experience, they served master Marian Bublewicz during many events. In special cases, 2 additional, proven mechanics joined the group. In addition to financial support, TMPL provided the team with a Toyota Dyna truck and a HiAce van.
A string of successes
In 1993 season Paweł Przybylski piloted by Krzysztof Gęborys (Celica GT-Four) won the title of Polish Rally Champion, standing on the highest podium of three rallies: Dolnośląski, Krakowski and Elmot. Vice-champion is the driver of another GT-Four, Marek Gieruszczak (pilot Marek Skrobot), the winner of the 24th Polish Song Festival and Karkonosze Rally. At the same time, the legendary Carlos Sainz was winning laurels for Toyota. In the classification of RSMP 93' Krzysztof Hołowczyc took seventh place, but he was only on his way to his greatest successes. As early as December 1993 Gieruszczak and Skrobot defeated their rivals on the route of the 31st Rally Barbórka Warszawska.
In the 1994 season, Przybylski and Gęborys from the Toyota Motor Poland team won the title of Polish Rally Champions. They won the Kormoran, Krakowskie, Karkonoskie and Wisła Rally. The third place in the RSMP 94' was taken by the Hołowczyc/Wisławski team behind the wheel of Celika GT-Four. It is worth adding, however, that the 52nd Polish Rally was won by the Italian Bertone/Chiapponi crew (Celica GT-Four), while Ho³owczyc came in 2nd. The word "Celica" was on every rally fan's lips in Poland.
The year 1995 brought personnel changes. "The Hoop" and "The Vistula" (Hołowczyc and Wisławski) joined the Stomil Olsztyn/Mobil team, but still starting with Celica, which won the RSMP Championship title in 1995. The Toyota team was strengthened by talented Robert Gryczyński, who made his debut in September 1995. The start was successful, as he and his pilot Tomasz Ryborz won the 43rd Wisła Rally, leading in a championship style Celica ST185. In one of the interviews, Gryczyński recalled: "For those days the equipment was amazing, it was the best car in the country." In the 1996 season Gryczyński won the title of the second vice-champion of Poland. At that time, the TMPL team's racing partner was the oil company Castrol, so the full name was Toyota Castrol Poland Team.
ST205 goes into action
The novelty of the 1997 season was prepared by a professional team of TMPL A-group Celica GT-Four ST205 with registration number K-AM 6208 (later Polish WXG 999K). The 3S-GTE was equipped with a ceramic Toyota CT20b turbocharger and electronic fuel injection. The unique roar of the 300-horsepower engine is still remembered by rally fans even today, after two decades. At the invitation of TMPL, a Swedish rally driver Anders Kulläng flew to Poland. He trained Gryczyński and Burkacki on various surfaces for several days. In the 11th Winter Rally of Lower Silesia (21-22 February 1997) "Gryka" took the 2nd place, placing behind Hołowczyc. Third place went to the crew of another GT-Four (ST185) - Robert Herba and Sławomir Luba, sponsored by Tedex. The 1997 season was successful: Gryczyński won the 45th Wisła Rally and Karkonoski Rally and won the title of Polish Rally Vice-Champion, enriching the achievements of the TMPL rally team.
At the beginning of 1998, Gryczyński scored his first RSMP points at the wheel of the ST205, but already in April 1998 he moved to Corolla WRC. It wasn't the end of GT-Four rally starts on the Polish Rally OS. In the seasons 1999 and 2000 the four-propulsion Celica was run by, among others, Cezary Fuchs (Dialog Rally Team), piloted by Maciej Maciej Maciej Maciej Maciejewski, who is known for his starts with Gieruszczak. On 31 December 2001 the FIA rally homologation No A 5521 for Toyota Celiki GT-Four group A expired.
The Toyota Celica GT-Four has become an icon of WRC rallies. It was driven and triumphed by the leading drivers of the 1990s, including the winner of 2 World Rally Championship titles for Toyota, Carlos Sainz. The successes of Robert Polak and Jacek Ptaszek in rallycross, which these competitors enjoyed back in the 1990s, cannot be overlooked either. In the memory of Polish rally fans, the car has written down as a legendary "instrument to win".
The crews of Toyota Celika, who won the titles of Polish Rally Champions:
1993 Paweł Przybylski / Krzysztof Gęborys Celica GT-Four (ST165 Team Toyota Motor Poland)
1994 Paweł Przybylski / Krzysztof Gęborys Celica GT-Four (ST165 Team Toyota Motor Poland)
1995 Krzysztof Hołowczyc / Maciej Wisławski Celica Turbo 4WD (ST185)
1996 Krzysztof Hołowczyc / Maciej Wisławski Celica Turbo 4WD (ST185)
1998 Robert Gryczyński / Tadeusz Burkacki Celica GT-Four ST 205/Corolla WRC (ST 165 Team Toyota Motor Poland)