The nine WRC crews that won together on debut

Winning a WRC round is no easy feat, but which pairings have done it on their debut together?


It took just two events for Sébastien Ogier and Vincent Landais to become World Rally Championship event winners together, dominating last weekend’s Monte Carlo Rally.

For my fellow stat buffs out there, there was a rather neat one flying around associated with this victory too as it was Ogier’s 56th in the world championship, claimed on Landais’ 56th WRC start.

Does that matter? No, not really. But it’s cool, isn’t it!

What perhaps may be of more relevance and interest is how Ogier and Landais’ feat stacks up against their peers over the WRC’s 50-year-old history. Winning a rally just the second time they got into a car is impressive, but just how unique an achievement is it?

Sadly for them, as impressive as their accomplishment was, Ogier and Landais can’t claim to be the fastest WRC crew to win together.

But these nine drivers and co-drivers can, as they went one better and won on their WRC debut as a pair:

Pairings that won on their WRC debut together but had done rallies beforehand in other championships haven’t been counted.

Jean-Luc Thérier & Jacques Jaubert

Rally Portugal 1973

Jean-Luc Thérier won five rallies with three different co-drivers throughout his WRC career, but his very first was alongside Jacques Jaubert.

Competing in the class of the 1973 field, the Alpine A110, Thérier and Jaubert proved to be a potent combination from the off as they won on debut in Portugal.

They’d win later that year in Sanremo too in a year where Thérier was also co-driven by Marcel Callewaert and Christian Delferier.

Sandro Munari & Silvio Maiga

Monte Carlo Rally 1976

Sandro Munari and Silvio Maiga knew each other before their first rally together in 1976 – both competing for the Lancia team.

They certainly gave that impression anyway after a victory together on debut on the ’76 Monte – the first of an eventual four as a partnership in the famous Stratos HF.

But it was claimed in slightly controversial circumstances as team-mate Björn Waldegård had been instructed by Lancia team management to relent his pressure on Munari and ensure a Lancia 1-2-3.

Henri Toivonen & Neil Wilson

Rally GB 1985

Lombard Rac Rally 1985, Chester 24-26 11 1985

Henri Toivonen boasts a unique accolade in WRC history as the only driver to win three rallies and all with different co-drivers.

His second WRC victory, on the keenly anticipated Lancia Delta S4’s debut, was also Toivonen’s debut with co-driver Neil Wilson and they absolutely dominated that year’s Rally GB.

It transpired to be the only rally Toivonen and Wilson ever did together.

Henri Toivonen & Sergio Cresto

Monte Carlo Rally 1986

Henri Toivonen Story

Yep, Henri Toivonen again! Because after that win to close out the ’85 season, the Finn returned to the winner’s circle at the start of 1986 with new co-driver Sergio Cresto.

This likely would’ve been the first of many wins had the pair not succumbed to a fatal accident on the Tour de Corse just three months later.

Miki Biasion & Carlo Cassina

Rally Portugal 1988

Miki Biasion Story

For 77 of his 78 WRC starts, two-time world champion Miki Biasion had Tiziano Siviero by his side.

But for the second event of his maiden title winning campaign in 1988, he and Carlo Cassina were partnered together in Biasion’s Lancia and duly won Rally Portugal.

It proved to be Cassina’s only WRC victory and his (other than 2013’s Rallylegend – Myth) only rally with Biasion, as Siviero was forced to sit out the event with health problems.

Juha Kankkunen & Nicky Grist

Rally Argentina 1993

Rally of Argentina Cordoba (ARG) 14-17 07 1993

Juha Kankkunen had been paired with fellow Juha Piironen ever since his first title-winning season in 1986 with Peugeot, but their partnership came to an abrupt end halfway into 1993 when Piironen suffered a brain haemorrhage.

Nicky Grist was therefore drafted in from Mitsubishi and Armin Schwarz for Rally Argentina, and at that time had only just claimed his first podium in the WRC.

But Kankkunen and Grist won in Argentina and would take four wins on their first six rallies together that year in a partnership that lasted until 1996.

Juha Kankkunen & Denis Giraudet

Rally Finland 1993

1000 Lakes Rally, Jyvaskyla (Fin) 27-29 08 1993

But Nicky Grist did have a relationship with Armin Schwarz still, and was therefore recalled to the Evo I for Rally Finland.

Juha Kankkunen therefore turned to Denis Giraudet, who was a known quantity to Toyota having sat with François Chatriot in Corsica.

Like Grist, Giraudet had never graced the top step of the podium before Rally Finland 1993 but reached it alongside the flying Finn. The accomplishment makes Kankkunen the only WRC driver in history to win with three different co-drivers in the one season.

Didier Auriol & Denis Giraudet

Tour de Corse 1995

Rallye Tour de Corse Ajaccio (FRA) 03-05 5 1995

Clearly it takes a certain type of character to win a WRC rally on debut together, as Denis Giraudet is another repeat name on this list.

Tour de Corse 1995 was actually his very next WRC event after his maiden win in Finland 1993 and he was still seen donning Toyota overalls, only this time clambering into a Celica with Didier Auriol’s name on it instead.

Having split with long-time co-driver Bernard Occelli, Auriol recruited Giraudet and they won instantly. It was the first of three victories for a partnership that lasted to the end of Auriol’s career with Škoda in 2003.

Sébastien Loeb & Isabelle Galmiche

Monte Carlo Rally 2022


Far and away the most modern example of this extraordinary feat being accomplished, the 2022 Monte Carlo Rally was unique as it was likely only ever going to be won by a crew who were competing together for the first time.

Both Sébastien Loeb and Sébastien Ogier had new navigators in Isabelle Galmiche and Benjamin Veillas, and Ogier was ahead only for a penultimate stage puncture to set him back.

That let the wily Loeb and Galmiche to storm through and claim an extremely famous win – Loeb’s 80th, first not in a Citroën and the first for a female competitor in 25 years.