While a lot of the World Rally Championship rounds have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the WRC promoters are in the hunt for the greatest WRC driver of all time. The winner will be decided by votes from fans and six expert journalists.
With the coronavirus pandemic hitting the world hard, almost everything seems to have paused. Automobile manufacturers world over have stopped production and are instead doing their bit in producing masks and ventilators. With the current situation in mind, it doesn’t come as a surprise that motorsport activities across all genres have been postponed or cancelled. While motorsport fans are saddened by the turn of events, promoters are taking interesting initiatives during this time. Just last week, MotoGP ran a virtual Grand Prix series online with leading riders from different teams. Read the full report of the first virtual race of the 2020 MotoGP season here.
Meanwhile, the Promoters of the World Rally Championship have taken a slightly different approach. With the next three rounds of WRC – Rally Argentina, Rally Portugal and Rally Italia Sardegna – postponed as of now, Promoters have launched an online search to crown the greatest rally driver of all time.
All 18 champions since the inception of the World Rally Championship drivers’ title in 1979 qualify for the coveted title. Two more wild card entries will be nominated based on their performances. These 20 drivers have been listed in accordance with their titles, rally wins, and podium finishes. The eight lowest ranking drivers will participate in a driver-duel qualifying round that has commenced today.
Fans can cast their vote and choose their favourite driver from the following four pairs – Petter Solberg v Jari-Matti Latvala, Ott Tänak v Markku Alén, Stig Blomqvist v Ari Vatanen, and Timo Salonen v Richard Burns. One winner from each of these pairs will join the top 12 in the next round. The game continues with eight winners from round one, followed by the quarter-finals and the semi-finals. The winner of this contest will be declared as the greatest champion of all time.
Fan votes will account for 40% of the total score for each driver, and the remaining 60% will be awarded by a panel of six expert journalists. The panel of expert WRC journalists comprises Julian Porter (WRC commentator and broadcaster, United Kingdom), Marco Giordo (Autosprint magazine, Italy), Reiner Kuhn (Motorsport aktuell, Germany) David Evans (DirtFish, USA), Loic Rocci (AUTOhebdo, France), and José-Manuel Gonzàlez (WRC+ All Live commentator, Spain).
Participants who predict the winner correctly get a chance to win a prize from Pirelli and a one-year subscription to WRC+.
So, who is it that you're looking forward to voting for in this ultimate competition? For us, we're spoilt for choice, and torn whether we should vote for Walter Rohrl, who's arguably one of the finest rally drivers ever, or Ari Vatanen, whose exploits not only in the WRC, but also at Pikes and Peak and multiple Dakar Rally wins are well known. On the other hand, there's Mr. "When in Doubt, Flat out" Colin McRae and his fearless style of driving, or the clinical precision of Tommi Makinnen and the relentless championship winning ability of Sebastian Loeb. Man, it really is a tough choice.
You can vote for your favourite drivers at WRC - Greatest WRC Driver
Here's a list of 20 drivers fighting for the coveted title:
1. Sébastien Loeb; 2. Sébastien Ogier; 3. Tommi Mäkinen; 4. Juha Kankkunen; 5. Marcus Grönholm; 6. Carlos Sainz; 7. Miki Biasion; 8. Walter Röhrl; 9. Colin McRae; 10. Didier Auriol; 11. Hannu Mikkola; 12. Björn Waldegård; 13. Petter Solberg; 14. Ott Tänak; 15. Stig Blomqvist; 16. Timo Salonen; 17. Ari Vatanen; 18. Richard Burns; 19. Markku Alén; 20. Jari-Matti Latvala.