F1 Drivers That Also Took Part in Rally RacingSaturday, May 25, 2013 12:58 by Vlad Balan
Alain Prost, Jim Clark or Stirling Moss are just a few famous Formula One drivers that also took part in rally racing. Another legendary driver, Ayrton Senna, was also attracted by this type or racing, but he only did a couple of tests.
Even though Formula One and rally racing require completely different technical skills, throughout history there were dozens of Formula One drivers that also took part in rally racing. The latest example is Robert Kubica, who is still driving after a horrible crash in February 2011, a crash that nearly cost him his life. But before him there were others, let’s take a look at them:
Known for his World Championship titles won in 1963 and 1965, Jim Clark raced in the RAC Rally in 1966. The rally is currently known as the Wales Rally, the name change taking place in 2003. Driving a Lotus Cortina, Clark recorded best times on three stages, was second on seven others and placed 3 to 5 on five stages. He damaged his car after losing control, he managed to get back in the race, but had to abandon after rolling over his Lotus.
Considered one of the best drivers in the Formula One that never managed to win a Championship title, Sir Stirling Moss also raced in the Monte Carlo rally in 1952. Even though he drove a modest Sunbeam Talbot 90, the British legend impressed everyone with his skills and finished the rally in second place. The winner was famous Sidney Allard, who built his cars by himself.
Known after winning 12 Formula One races for teams like Ferrari or Williams, Carlos Reutemann had also an impressive run in the South America Rally. In 1981 he drove a Fiat 131 in Argentina and Brazil, managing to place third. He repeated the experience four years later, driving a Peugeot 205 T16 in the Argentina Rally. He drove the same car Juha Kankkunen drove in 1986 when he won the first out of his four WRC championship titles.
The French legend doesn’t need any introduction about his Formula One history. However, what many don’t know is that Prost also tested his skills in rally. After his third Formula One season, he drove a Renault 5 Turbo in Rallye du Var, in 1982. Unfortunately, he had to abandon the race after a problem with the throttle cable.
10 years after retiring from Formula One, World Champion Keke Rosberg made his debut in rally racing in the Arctic Rally. It happened in 1996 and he drove a Ford Escort 2000 RS. Even though he had to abandon the race, that didn’t stop Rosberg from competing in five other races between 1999 and 2004, all taking place in Scandinavia. In 1999 he finished seventh in the F Group of the Arctic Rally, driving a Toyota Scarlet, while next year he managed to place second in the same class. He raced in three more races, with Mitsubishi, but didn’t manage any notable performances.
The British driver might not be very famous for his Formula One experience (he only won 8 points in 13 races), but his motorsport experience is pretty impressive. In 1968 he won the Monte Carlo Rally at the wheel of a Porsche 911 and a week later he won the 24-hour Dayton race with a Porsche 907, marking the German carmaker’s first win in a 24-hour endurance race. But that wasn’t all of Elford in 1968, because he also managed to win the Targa Florida race after losing 18 minutes in the first lap due to a problem with the tires.
The Swiss is probably the Formula One driver with the darkest rally racing experience. After modest results in Formula One between 1979 and 1986, Surer drove a Ford RS200 in the 1986 ADAC Hessen Rally in Germany. Unfortunately, the lack of experience took its toll and the Swiss was involved in a terrible crash that killed his copilot and seriously injured Surer. This crash also marked the end of his driving career.
The British driver raced in Formula One between 1981 and 1993 for teams like Toleman and Renault, but didn’t manage to win any races. He also had a short adventure in rally racing in 1990, when he raced in the RAC Rally and managed to place 12th before a crash forced him to abandon. Warwick drove a Subaru Legacy.
World Champion with Ferrari in 2007, Raikkonen made his WRC debut in 2009, in Rally Finland, but was forced to abandon. However, it seems like he enjoyed the experience, because two full seasons followed. In 2010 he drove a Citroen C4 WRC and in 2011 a Citroen DS3 WRC, his best result being a 5th place in the Rally of Turkey. In both seasons he placed in the same position, 10th, at the end of the season. This was pretty disappointing and in 2012 he returned to Formula One, after signing a deal with Lotus.
Probably Formula One’s most beloved son, Senna hasn’t competed in any official rally races, but he tested many rally cars before winning his first Formula One title. In November 1986, when he was driving for Lotus in Formula One, the Brazilian was invited in Wales by Cars and Car Conversions magazine to test several rally cars, including a Vauxhall Nova (it was the same type of car that made Colin McRae famous), Austin Rover Metro 6R4, Ford Sierra RS Cosworth and Ford Escort. According to Senna, he took the challenge because:
I know nothing about rallying. I’ve seen the pictures in magazines, sometimes watched it on television. And I deliberately haven’t listened to anyone about rally driving. I want to find out for myself.