We don’t intend to sound like a broken record, but the level of the World Rally Championship’s premier support category, WRC2, is sublime at the moment.
Both in terms of quality and quantity, the class catering for Rally2 cars is at an all-time high in 2023.
Which is some way to celebrate a 10-year anniversary!
It’s perhaps hard to believe as the category has undergone a few identity changes and some format tweaks, but 2023 marks a decade of WRC2 which officially took over from SWRC as the WRC’s chief support class in 2013.
In that time several rising prospects, established stars and even local heroes have won events – in fact 43 different drivers have finished first in WRC2 over the years.
But who has won the most rallies?
With the help of eWRC-results, we’re about to find out!
Drivers who won in WRC3 (when that catered for Rally2 cars) and WRC2 Pro (when that ran separately to WRC2 for manufacturer drivers only) haven’t been included. But there’s a table at the bottom of the article to show who won the most in those categories too.
But first, here’s a top 10 rundown of the highest winners in WRC2 so far:
9= Elfyn Evans
Elfyn Evans won his first World Rally Championship round at home in Wales, but did you know that he did the same in WRC2 four years earlier?
Driving the Ford Fiesta R5 he picked up as a prize for winning what was then WRC Academy (now Junior WRC), Evans bowed out of WRC2 – on his way to a WRC drive with M-Sport in 2014 – with a win on Rally GB.
But three years later he was back in an R5 and scooped up three more category wins on the Monte, Rally Sweden and the famed Tour de Corse.
9= Jari Huttunen
Few drivers, then or since, have made quite the same impression as Jari Huttunen when he burst onto the WRC2 scene back in 2017.
Amid an ERC season with Opel in a front-wheel-drive Adam R2, Huttunen got his hands on a Škoda Fabia R5 for his home round of the WRC, Rally Finland. And incredibly, he won.
The Finn would make WRC2 appearances in 2018 and ’19 with Hyundai but his career nose-dived until a stellar 2020 campaign – which saw him clinch the WRC3 title – relaunched him into WRC2 where he claimed three event victories in 2021.
Two were back with Hyundai in Sardinia with the old R5 and Ypres with the new Rally2, but his final victory was with M-Sport Ford on the Monza Rally.
9= Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari
Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari is, by some way, the driver with the lowest international profile to make the top 10. But his WRC career was quietly impressive.
Scoring points on his world championship debut on the 2012 Acropolis Rally behind the wheel of a Mini JCW WRC, Al-Kuwari committed to a WRC2 campaign in 2013 off the back of back-to-back titles at home in Qatar in 2011 and ’12.
And he won immediately, scoring his first of three victories that year in México. Armed with a Ford Fiesta RRC, Al-Kuwari was only off the podium once all year (in Portugal) with further wins notched up in Argentina and Australia.
In the end he claimed second in the first ever WRC2 championship, and continued competing in the series until 2016 – claiming one more win on Rally Argentina 2015.
7= Robert Kubica
The driver that beat Al-Kuwari to that 2013 title, Robert Kubica, has an impeccable WRC2 record of five wins from seven starts.
Making his first foray into rallying with eyes on it being his career, Kubica had a lively run on his debut event in Portugal, but from there he simply hit the ground running.
Powering his Citroën DS3 RRC to wins in Greece, Italy, Germany, France and Spain, he was a runaway championship winner – only beaten once in that period by Jari Ketomaa on Rally Finland.
Kubica stepped up to a WRC car for Rally GB that year and would never made any WRC2 appearances again.
I’m sure the WRC Promoter would have him back in a heartbeat, though!
7= Mads Østberg
Another champion, coincidentally the only other driver to win WRC2 in a Citroën, Mads Østberg can’t boast the same five from seven record as Kubica. But had he stopped competing after he’d won five events, his record would actually be better!
In his title-winning 2020 season, Østberg bagged four wins from five (including all three of his first three WRC2 events) to win the title without the need to use a dropped score.
Another win in Croatia the following season left Østberg with five wins from six starts, but his 2021 campaign unravelled with a string of bad luck and the odd mistake.
That meant he never won a WRC2 round again, and was unable to defend his title against fellow Norwegian Andreas Mikkelsen.
6 Nasser Al-Attiyah
The only driver to ever win WRC2 twice (in 2014 and ’15), Nasser Al-Attiyah neatly finds himself sixth in the all-time winners’ list with six wins.
Winning on his first two category starts in Portugal and Argentina set the 18-time Middle East champion up perfectly for the title in his Fiesta RRC.
A mid-season blip was firmly swept aside when he won in Australia and doubled down with a win on the asphalt roads of Spain.
Al-Attiyah only won two events in 2015 (México and Portugal) but strong consistency was enough for him to beat Yuriy Protasov to the championship crown.
5 Teemu Suninen
Teemu Suninen has effectively had two careers in WRC2. One where he made his name and earned his WRC shot, and now the current phase where he’s looking to return to a top-level drive.
Suninen’s first category appearance fell in 2015 and by the end of the year he was a WRC2 winner, taking victory on Rally GB with a Škoda Fabia S2000.
The following year, in an R5 version, he gave Elfyn Evans a good run for his money – winning in México and Poland. That caught the attention of Evans’ team, M-Sport, which gave Suninen a WRC2 drive in 2017 as well as select World Rally Car appearances.
Suninen was third in the championship but won in Spain, and was then off into the WRC full-time.
He dropped back into WRC2 in 2021, sharing both the WRC and Rally2 Fiestas with Adrien Fourmaux, before he took matters into his own hands, left M-Sport and drove a Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 to the class win in Finland.
Suninen then landed a drive at Hyundai but has only won one event to date (Spain 2022).
3= Andreas Mikkelsen
Andreas Mikkelsen’s far more familiar with WRC2 than he’d like. His first foray fell when VW pulled out of the WRC at the 11th hour, leaving Mikkelsen to seek refuge with Škoda.
He won both the Monte and Corsica in a Fabia R5 before returning to the WRC with Citroën and then Hyundai.
But when dropped by Hyundai for 2020, Mikkelsen regrouped and returned to WRC2 in 2021 where he ultimately would win the title.
Driving a Fabia Rally2 evo, Mikkelsen won three times across the year and grabbed another three the following season. But a crash on the Acropolis Rally’s superspecial, plus two mechanical DNFs while leading, stunted his bid to retain his title.
Mikkelsen is set to return to the category in a Fabia RS Rally2 this year, so could well rise further up this list!
3= Jan Kopecký
Škoda’s quintessential Czech hero, Jan Kopecký, has won just about everything there is to win driving one of the brand’s Fabias (except, somewhat controversially, the Intercontinental Rally Challenge).
Showing impressive longevity, and a particularly strong turn of speed on asphalt, only two drivers have won more WRC2 events than 2018 champion Kopecký.
His first win was claimed in Germany back in 2015 before another victory was added in Spain the following year. 2017 yielded one victory too, this time on the gravel of Sardinia.
But it was Kopecký’s title-winning 2018 season that was particularly impressive. Winning the opener in Monte Carlo, Kopecký simply couldn’t stop winning as he scooped top spot in Corsica, Sardinia, Germany and Turkey too.
That was more than enough for Kopecký to claim his one and only world title.
2 Esapekka Lappi
Another driver to win the title with Škoda Motorsport (spoiler alert: along with who tops this list too), Esapekka Lappi ranks second in this list with nine WRC2 victories.
The first came 10 years ago in Portugal behind the wheel of a Fabia S2000 before the switch to an R5 and a more complete program in 2015.
That year Lappi took two wins (back-to-back in Poland and Finland) to claim third in the championship, before he came back with a vengeance in 2016. Winning four events on the trot to close out the season, Lappi upped his event victory tally to seven and, of far more worth, claimed a title that ultimately propelled him into the WRC.
But when he was sidelined for the 2021 season, Lappi returned to WRC2 and used it as a springboard to re-sign for Toyota. Two appearances in a VW Polo netted two wins, on Arctic Rally Finland and Rally Portugal, and Lappi was back in the WRC where he remains today, now with Hyundai.
1 Pontus Tidemand
Pontus Tidemand doesn’t just top this list, he’s absolutely smashed the rest. The only driver to reach double figures, the Swede has 14 WRC2 wins to his name.
The first came in 2014 in Germany driving the Fiesta R5 he’d won for winning the previous year’s JWRC title. But a switch to Škoda Motorsport’s works program beckoned for 2015 and it’s in a Fabia R5 where Tidemand did the bulk of his winning.
One win in 2015 (Spain) was topped up by another in 2016 (Portugal) before Tidemand won an incredible five rounds in 2017 on his way to the championship title.
Three wins were added in 2018 to bring his victory tally up to 11, before a part season with M-Sport in a World Rally Car promoted Tidemand out of WRC2.
But he was back for 2020 and into a title fight with Mads Østberg. Back in a Škoda he won in México, Turkey and Sardinia but that didn’t prove enough to claim a second class title.
So those are the top 10, but who are the rest of the WRC2 winners?
We’ve listed them down below in table format, as well as the victors in WRC2 Pro and WRC3 as promised.
There are some big names on this list, including three world champions and two more active Rally1 drivers!
|16=||Ole Christian Veiby||2|
WRC2 Pro (2019)
|3=||Łukasz Pieniążek |