The votes are in, and the verdict is to be delivered.
We asked you to vote for who you felt was the greatest World Rally Championship driver of all-time, and you responded in your thousands!
Afforded three votes, several names cropped up allowing us to create your Top 50 drivers ever to grace the WRC – a neat number given 2022 marked the 50th season of WRC.
Throughout this week we’ll be trickling the results. Yesterday we revealed 20-11, on Wednesday it was 30-21, on Tuesday you’ll have seen 40-31 and on Monday we unveiled 50-41. Now it’s getting serious as it’s time to reveal your top 10!
But, just to keep you in suspense that little bit longer, the top five won’t be revealed until tomorrow:
10 Kalle Rovanperä
The newest member of the world champions’ club finds himself at 10 on your list.
Kalle Rovanperä hasn’t been in the WRC for many years but he’s already made his mark – becoming the youngest podium finisher at 19, youngest rally winner at 20 and youngest world champion at a day over 22.
His command of the first half of the 2022 season in particular was scarily impressive, so the future is looking very bright for this young Finn.
9 Walter Röhrl
One of the most precise and determined drivers ever, Walter Röhrl was the first driver to score two WRC titles and was part of same great teams of his time like Fiat, Opel, Lancia and Audi.
His two world titles came in a 131 Abarth in 1980 and an Ascona in 1982 before Group B took over the world of rallying. Röhrl probably could’ve won more titles but never took part in a full season to be able to do so.
Of his 14 WRC victories, three came on the bounce on the Monte between 1982-84 but such was Röhrl’s professionalism, he was quick everywhere.
8 Carlos Sainz
‘El Matador’ broke WRC history when he became the first non-Scandinavian to win Rally Finland in 1990, and duly swept to that year’s title and triumphed in 1992 too.
But after that Toyota spell Sainz made an ill-fated switch to Jolly Club Lancia and then Subaru where he fought for the ’94 and ’95 titles but to no avail. In fact coming close but not close enough to more championships became a theme of Sainz’s career – who can forget that famous engine failure on Rally GB 1998 just meters from the finish line?
Driving for Ford twice and then finally settling down at Citroën to end his career, Sainz won 26 world rallies – a tally only three other drivers have bettered.
7 Tommi Mäkinen
Four world titles on the bounce may not retrospectively seem that impressive considering what the two Sébastiens later achieved, but in the late 1990s that was an utterly unprecedented run from Tommi Mäkinen.
A one-off drive with Ford on Rally Finland 1994 netted a first career win and earned a move to Mitsubishi which would soon become that formidable championship-winning alliance.
Mäkinen lost his crown in 2000 and never won it back – a move to Subaru failing to deliver on the promise. But he did return to the WRC and win the championship as a team principal with Toyota in 2018, ’19 and ’20.
6 Juha Kankkunen
The original four-time world champion, Juha Kankkunen is the only driver in history to win titles in both the Group B and Group A eras.
That first came with Peugeot in 1986 before a switch to Lancia for ’87 as Peugeot pulled out, and another title swiftly followed. Kankkunen moved to Toyota for 1988 and ’89 but returned to Lancia to net another world title in ’91.
A move back to Toyota for 1993 then gave him his fourth and final world crown. But plenty more success would follow in terms of rallies won with both Ford and Subaru before he retired after the 2002 season with Hyundai.
Keep an eye on DirtFish tomorrow when the winner of your votes will be revealed!