The young Juha Kankkunen - series leader - came to New Zealand full of confidence. The Peugeot driver’s main rival Markku Alen (Lancia Delta S4) was determined not to let the French opposition retain the World Manufacturers’ Championship without a fight. And a fight it was! The two aces swapped times - first one second to Kankkunen then one to Alen, then back to Kankkunen again - no-one could predict a winner till the very end. Luck was with Kankkunen but there was drama aplenty before a winner was declared!
The Championship had reached fever pitch by the Argentinian round. Both Lancia and Peugeot were desperately trying to recruit experienced drivers to boost their chances. Peugeot managed to secure the services of a certain Stig Blomqvist - and by the end of the rally the team had cause to thank him. His crucial third place had saved the day for Peugeot even though it was Lancia’s rising star Miki Biasion who had finally taken his first major win. With Kankkunen sidelined by mechanical problems, Alen’s second place closed the points gap in the Championship race and the rallying world looked forward to the next battle - the 1000 Lakes!