RALLYING TO THE CAUSE
Being a massive rally nut, I was intrigued by the Top 10 Greatest WRC drivers in the January magazine. I see Scott Newman correctly got all eight of the multiple driver’s title winners into the final 10, which then leaves two spots open at the tail of the list, into which he has slotted Markku Alén and Colin McRae, who earned zero and one title respectively. Although it’s hard to argue with the sheer number of stage wins that Alén accumulated, it’s a fact that Didier Auriol not only won a world championship, but also eclipsed Alén in terms of event wins, so in all of the more consequential measures, Auriol must surely rate above Alén? Let’s face it, his 1994 championship was epic and saw him beat five other drivers on your list (Sainz, Kankkunen, McRae, Grönholm and Mäkinen). Did Auriol’s ’94 Celica benefit from the cheat that got Toyota booted from the ’95 Championship? Perhaps we’ll never know but given that he was driving a Celica ST185 in ’94 and and an ST205 the following year, I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Steve Fuller, via Email Some food for thought, there Steve. An argument can be made either way, but there’s one fact that makes Alén a stone-cold hero in my book. In 1978, the year he won the WDC, he switched midseason from the Fiat 131 to the Lancia Stratos HF and won first time out in San Remo. That takes huge talent/bravery. – Ed