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We are the Champions

There have been some incredible drivers that have competed in the World Rally Championship and since the first competition was held in 1979, we have been astounded by their speed and skill behind the wheel. Here we take a look at some of the greats from this motorsport.

There aren’t many women in this type of sport but there was one that came very close to beating the men to the top spot. Michele Mouton almost won the 1982 World Championship. She was one of the first drivers to really get to grips with four wheel drive and in a sport where lack of talent cannot hide, she didn’t need to hide anywhere.

One tough Swede of the 1980’s was Ari Vatanen, a guy who never backed off and was often the fastest driver in the stages. Unfortunately he had a bad crash in 1985 which nearly killed him. He pulled through, physically and mentally and went on to compete in the Paris-Dakar and became a Pikes Peak Hillclimb hero. Rather bizarrely, he went on to become a politician!

Seeking perfection in a way that only the Germans can was Walter Rohrl. He was a driver with enviable skills and a smooth, efficient style. He was a master of rear wheel drive and eventually got to grips with four wheel drive.

A fiery Spaniard came along in the figure of Carlos Sainz and he was thrilling to watch. He was successful during the late 1980’s and by the end of the decade was the lead driver for Toyota. By 1990 he was World Champion and again in 1992. He almost made a third title too in 1998 but annoyingly his Corolla broke down just 400m from the end of the rally.

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The next in our list is a household name and was a true great indeed. The barmy Scotsman’s mantra was ‘if in doubt, flat out’. He won a lot of trophies and also totalled a lot of cars in quite spectacular fashion. He may have won more titles if he hadn’t been quite so gutsy but then he wouldn’t have been such a character. It was definitely a family affair as his father and brother were also in the sport and his father, Jimmy McRae was five time British Rally Champion. Colin was the youngest ever driver to win the World Championship in 1995 but sadly he is no longer with us due to terrible helicopter crash. You can be sure that the cars of this great driver are secured thanks to a local version of a Southend Locksmiths

Another great driver was Sebastien Loeb, who statistically is the greatest driver the World Championship has ever seen. He holds nine titles with 78 rally wins and 900 stage wins. During the noughties, he was the man to beat and he even competed with a broken leg in 2006. Some have questioned the quality of his opposition but his legacy remains as one of the sport’s elite.


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