The votes are in, and the verdict is to be delivered.
We asked you to vote for who you thought was the greatest World Rally Championship driver of all-time, and you responded in your thousands!
Each participant could put forward their top three drivers, and the accumulated list of names allowed us to create DirtFish readers’ top 50 drivers ever to grace the WRC – a neat number given 2022 marked the 50th season of world championship action.
Throughout this week we’ll be running through the results, starting with 50-41 as voted by you:
50 Jean-Claude Andruet
The winner of the first ever WRC event, the 1973 Monte Carlo Rally, neatly props up the top 50.
A victor of three events throughout his career (one for Alpine, one for Lancia and one for Fiat), Andruet was one of the original stars of the world championship and recognized as an asphalt specialist.
As such, he was regularly employed by teams – including Ferrari – to contest the Monte and Tour de Corse throughout the 1980s but Andruet was also responsible for giving the unorthodox Citroën BX 4TC its best ever WRC result with sixth on the snow of Rally Sweden in 1986.
49 Bernard Darniche
One of Andruet’s rivals and team-mates, Darniche was similarly skilled on asphalt and won his home event in Corsica a record-equalling six times.
An Alpine driver when the WRC was born in 1973, Darniche jumped between a Fiat 131 Abarth and Lancia Stratos throughout the decade – winning four times in Lancia’s famous wedge-shaped machine.
The only other events Darniche won other than Corsica were Rally Morocco, his maiden world championship win in ’73, and Monte Carlo in 1979.
48. Jourdan Serderidis
The first active WRC driver to appear on this list, Serderidis holds a unique distinction as the only driver to ever win the WRC Trophy.
Created in 2017 to allow older World Rally Cars a place to compete due to the factory cars gaining more power and aerodynamics, Serderidis cleaned up in his Citroën DS3 WRC.
Upon the introduction of Rally1 cars in 2022, Serderidis managed to get himself into a brand new Ford Puma and claimed his career-best WRC result of seventh place on Safari Rally Kenya.
47 Gus Greensmith
Like Serderidis, Greensmith also drove one of M-Sport’s Pumas in 2022 but couldn’t quite match his career-best rally result of fourth achieved last year.
But he has shown signs of improvement in recent years as he’s got to grips with top-line machinery.
Although his best result came in the 2021 Safari Rally, his best performance was arguably on the 2022 Monte where he finished fifth and claimed his first ever WRC stage win.
46 Jean-Luc Thérier
Another frontrunner from the beginning of the WRC’s history, Thérier was Alpine’s top performer when it won the manufacturers’ title in 1973 – in the era where there was no championship classification for drivers.
Having won three rallies that season, Thérier would only win two more throughout his WRC career. The first on the 1974 Press-on Regardless Rally behind the wheel of a Renault 17 Gordini, and the second six years later on the Tour de Corse in a Porsche 911.
Although he had a stint at Toyota, it was with the Alpine/Renault group that Thérier enjoyed his most success – concluding his WRC career with fourth on the 1984 Monte in a Renault 5 Turbo.
45 Possum Bourne
Perhaps famed more for what he did in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship rather than on the world stage, Bourne is an absolute legend of New Zealand rallying.
A triple APRC champion and victor of the Australian championship seven years on the bounce until his untimely death in 2003, Bourne regularly made WRC appearances in Australia and NZ for over a decade – and always behind the wheel of a Subaru.
His best result was third on Rally NZ with an RX Turbo, but he was regularly a top-five threat in either WRC, Group A or Group N machinery.
44 Shekhar Mehta
Yet another legend of the WRC’s early years, Shekhar Mehta was, unofficially, the king of Kenya with a record-equalling five wins on his home round (and the most in Safari WRC history).
Certainly, nobody could match him in his era as Mehta won the Safari four times in a row from 1979-’82, as well as the 1973 event, and all of his wins were in Datsuns and Nissans.
Mehta was no one-trick pony though. He podiumed in the Ivory Coast thrice, Acropolis twice and Argentina once, and also took a fourth place on the very different Rally Sanremo in 1974 with a Lancia Beta Coupé.
43 Roman Kresta
The third driver to feature on the list without a WRC podium to their name, Kresta was perhaps a talent unfulfilled at world level.
A Czech champion five times, his first foray into the WRC was with a Jolly Club-run Ford before he was picked up by Škoda to pilot an Octavia WRC.
Dropped after 2002, Kresta’s next manufacturer drive came with Ford in 2005 during a cash-strapped season as team-mate to Toni Gardemeister. He peaked with fifth place on both the Tour de Corse and Rally Spain.
After his WRC career ended, he returned to his national championship [pictured above] to win some more.
42 Craig Breen
A career that’s yet to realize its full potential, Breen ranks in at the number he chooses to compete with in the WRC.
A class champion in two and four-wheel-drive Ford Fiestas, Breen has driven for Citroën, Hyundai and M-Sport in the WRC and has eight podiums to date, but is yet to claim that elusive first win that his talent looks capable of delivering.
After a disastrous first full season in a Puma Rally1, Breen will drive for Hyundai Motorsport as a part-time driver in 2023.
41 Ingvar Carlsson
One of just two drivers to give Mazda a win in the WRC, Carlsson narrowly misses out on a top 40 spot.
The Swede drove for Fiat, BMW and Mercedes-Benz but it’s with Mazda that he’s best associated. Scorer of a miraculous third in the rear-wheel-drive RX7 on the 1985 Acropolis, Carlsson’s best came in the Group A 323 4WD.
Winning his home event in Sweden in 1989, he doubled up immediately with another victory on Rally NZ to prove that the little Mazda had legs. Carlsson stuck with Mazda until the end of 1991 when he retired from professional rallying.
Keep an eye on DirtFish tomorrow when the countdown continues.