I had long given up on the rally genre. Colin McRae in the PS1 days, Richard Burns Rally and even the PS2 era WRC games all did a fine job of either being super sim, or recreating the feel of rallying. By the way, the TV replays on WRC during that PS2 era are yet to be bettered in my humble opinion.
However, these types of rally games fell away as the introduction of the DiRT series changed up the format. There were still normal rally stages, but now we were introduced to many other formats of racing on mud, some welcomed and others not.