After the disappointing WTCC of 1988, and the short and unspectacular ETCC, we returned to the ETCC format. New rules meant that the Sierra's had to gain some extra weight (through the new turbo factor of 1.7) and had to rely on the standard intercooler, which was in the case of the RS500 adequate anyway. An overall reduction on tyre sizes (which were linked to engine capacity) had no effect for Ford: their extra capacity brought some weight but 1987 tyre sizes. On the other hand, BMW's Tires were reduced to 9". Even worse for Alfa Romeo; the new turbo factor meant that they had to move to division 3 - with the standard and very small intercooler. Alfa Romeo, like Maserati, pulled the plug - and went into another dead end street; Ecclestone's stillborn ProCar.
The ETCC therefore became a 3-class society; Toyota, BMW and Ford for division 1, 2 and 3. Never before the championship had been so predictable; surely Ford would win both titles. The only icing on the cake was in division 3 the arrival of Nismo's Nissan Skyline, which had a 1-car effort in a limited number of races. Bemani's brave but slow Toyota Supra couldn't change a thing. All in all, some races were entertaining, but what about the championship? Thanks to the double points for Spa, bad Ford tactics (at Silverstone, Rouse defeated the Eggenberger Sierra's) and some good luck, BMW's Ravaglia once again was champion! Ford, like last year, won the teams' prize.
But: this European championship would be the last for some time; it took nearly 15 years before the championship would return.