When it comes to motorsports, there aren’t many competitions with more prestige than the World Rally Championship – maybe Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, but not many more. Always delivering excitement and thrills at pretty high speeds, the competition has seen many an iconic driver in many an iconic model. At this current point in time, there are only four manufacturers scheduled to be involved in the 2014 edition of the WRC.
However, it’s not always been this way. In years gone-by, many of the world’s largest car manufacturers put forward rally variants of their models. And these rally variants went on to lead the drivers and their teams to championships. Since the championship began back in 1973, the likes of Citroen, Peugeot, Lancia, Toyota, Subaru, Ford, Volkswagen, Audi, Fiat and Mitsubishi have all experienced success in the manufacturer’s competition alone.
Really, you could talk for hours and hours about the cars and the drivers that have competed in the WRC. However, for the purpose of a digestible blog, we’ve picked out just four of our favourites from the past 15-years.
Peugeot 206 WRC
A special car for many reasons, the Peugeot 206 WRC served the now-defunct Peugeot Sport team well during its four-years in the competition. From 1999 to 2003, this model – based on the 206 hatchback – was used in 24 race victories. Many of those victories were achieved by the famous Finnish duo of driver Marcus Gronholm, and co-driver Timo Rautiainen. The pair formed a formidable partnership, which saw Gronholm win the driver’s championship twice – the first in 2000 and the second in 2002. In 2002 the quality of this particular rally car was also acknowledged by respected motorsport publication, Autosport – winning the Rally Car of the Year award.
Citroen C4 WRC
The Citroen C4 WRC is considered legendary in French motorsport history. Introduced for the 2007 WRC, it was driven by Frenchman Sebastian Loeb. Loeb managed to win a staggering four-titles-in-a-row in the C4 WRC, adding to the three he’d already won in the Citroën Xsara in the previous three years. Again, based on a popular hatchback model, this particular Citroën model was used in 36 race wins.
Subaru Impreza WRC 2001
Popular amongst many Brits, the Subaru Impreza WRC 2001 is widely associated with the late Richard Burns. It was an entirely new model at the time – taking its exterior design from the GD chassis Impreza WRX. It boasted a number of improvements – including a lower centre of gravity and better weight distribution.
From a performance point-of-view, the car remained largely the same – refinement rather than replacement being the order of the day. Burns enjoyed a terrific season in the car, winning his only WRC driver’s championship title before passing away from a brain tumour.
Volkswagen Polo R WRC
Another model based on a popular hatchback car, the Volkswagen Polo R WRC saw Volkswagen Motorsport take home the manufacturer’s championship in its debut season. Driven by Frenchman Sebastien Ogier, the car saw eight victories in 2013 alone.
Louisa Jenkins is a blogger. As a car enthusiast too, she regularly blogs about all the latest from the motoring world – from blogging on motorsports like the WRC, to writing about the latest Peugeot hatchback models, like those featured here: http://www.peugeot.co.uk/hatchback-range/
Photo Credits: Wikipedia