Rally always possessed a distinct status in the world of racing. There are no safety cars, no rain delays or laps of a solid material as is typical for the other types of racing. That's why the rally drivers have the status of the most skilled and respected drivers. But it is important to bear in mind that it's also a car that makes an excellent driver. Let's have a look at the most famous cars and their drivers throughout the 60 years of history of rally sport.
Erik Carlsson's Saab 96
The Swedish driver was well-known for his aggressive driving style and ability to put the car on its roof. But his victories at Wales, San Remo, and Monte Carlo races helped to make Saab respected and recognized manufacturer of the racing world. "Mr. Saab" also worked as the brand ambassador and promoted the car in the 1950s and 1960s.
Paddy Hopkirk's Mini Cooper
Mini Cooper currently possesses a status of an icon, and the main contribution was made by Paddy Hopkirk and his surprising victory in 1964 Monte Carlo rally. While his opponents were driving much more powerful cars, Hopkirk was able to beat them using the tight corners of the city.
Walter Röhrl's Opal Ascona 400
Röhrl's most remarkable success is connected with Audi Quattro S1 which in which he was able to finish the Pikes Peak hill climb in less than 11 minutes. However, in Opal Ascona 400, he proved his excellent driving skills as he was able to win 1982 World Rally Championship against much powerful competition made by the new AWD Quattro.
Time Salonen's Peugeot 205 Turbo 16
Timo Salonen was the most successful driver of the legendary Group B years in 1980. Hw had several overall wins and became a holder of the driver's championship in 1985. His car, Peugeot 205 Turbo 15 was nothing compared to the other cars as Audi Quattro or Ford RS 200, but the brand was still able to secure two consecutive constructor titles in 1985 and 1986.
Juha Kankkunen´Lancia Delta Integrale
Originally, Kankunnen was driving Peugeot 205 and secured its second victory in 1985 with the first being held by Timo Salonen. After the end of the Group B, he moved to Lancia, and in 1987 he won his second driver's title. Kankkunen´s driving skills helped him to gain also titles in 1991 again with Lancia and in 1993 behind the wheel of Toyota.
Carlos Sainz's Toyota Celica GT-Four
The early 1990s found Toyota becoming the rising star of the WRC. Carlos Sainz, nicknamed El Matador, helped the brand to reach this status and became the first non-Nordic driver to win the 1,000 Lakes Rally. Sainz is still the driver with the most career starts in the history of WRC.
Tommi Makinen's Mitsubishi Evolution
Tommi Makinen is understood as a key personality behind the fame of Mitsubishi throughout the racing world since the brand doesn't have a real name. However, the Finnish driver created a hegemony between 1996 - 1999 when he won four consecutive with his Mitsubishi Evolution car.
Colin McRae's Subaru Impreza "555"
The legend of rally racing, Colin McRae is the person standing behind the success of Subaru. He won his only one driver at the age of 27 and still is the holder of the title of the youngest winner. He also contributed to the victory in the constructor's championships in 1995, 1996, 1997.
Peter Solberg's Subaru Impreza WRX
Subaru was able to remain competitive even after the end of McRae's era. The early 2000s found the manufacturer with Petter Solberg driving the new model Impreza WRC. The driver won his only championship in 2003 but managed to keep the brand in the series to 2008.
Sebastien Loeb's Citroen
The greatest driver of all time is the product of the recent rally. Sebastien Loeb won the WRC Championship for nine times and shown his driving skills in all kinds of situations. With his Citroen models (Xsara, C4, DS3 WRC) he was able to keep winning even though the regulations made by the Directorate of WRC made the cars alike and only the driving skills made the difference between the victory and loss. The drivers and their cars of this article are only tips of the iceberg as the rally motorsport hides many unknown drivers who can prove their skills in the future.
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