History

History

Part of the FIA World Rally Championship calendar since the inaugural 1973 season, the Rally de France has only known two different territories in more than forty years: Corsica and Alsace.

The “Rally de France” was born in 1973. That year, the world of Rally federates and creates a World Rally Championship for the Manufacturers around 13 events. On December 1st and 2nd, the 17th edition of the Tour de Corse, which has been created in 1956, closes this brand new Championship.

The Tour de Corse is already a reference on tarmac. Tough and very demanding for the mechanics, crews and followers, the “10 000 turns rally” goes all around the island. Bastia, Calvi, Porto Vecchio, Ajaccio… The layout during the first years is an unbareable sprint: in less than 24 hours, the winner is designated. A local proverb says that the longest straight in the island is Ajaccio’s airport runway. Gaps behing the twisty mountain roads even scare many the drivers. Some of them won’t see the end of the rally…

For many years, Frenchmen dominate the rally and very few foreigners succeed in beating them on Corsican asphalt: Sandro Munari, Markku Alén and Carlos Sainz are the only ones in more than twenty editions. Bernard Darniche, four-time winner between 1977 and 1981, and Didier Auriol, six-time winner between 1988 and 1995, stand as references. In 1997, the arrival of World Rally Cars generate new conditions. Little by little, the Tour de Corse concentrates around Ajaccio. The competition gets smoother and the Frenchmen start losing their duals. Colin McRae, Jesus Puras, Petter Solberg, Markko Martin win in France until Sébastien Loeb’s advent. With number 1 on its doors, Loeb seizes the last four Corsican editions of the Rally de France.

Starting from 2010, the Rally de France takes place in Alsace, Sébastien Loeb’s homeland. The first edition, with Sébastien Loeb’s victory and title, remains in everyone’s memories. In 2011, a dramatic conclusion to Rallye de France-Alsace saw French ace Sebastien Ogier, in a factory Citroen DS3 WRC, made the most of Dani Sordo and his Mini John Cooper Works WRC to claim his first victory on home soil. In 2012, the crowd was ecstatic when Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena won the Rally de France-Alsace, securing their ninth consecutive World Rally Champion title and last one, since Sébastien Loeb had announced his partial retirement from WRC ten days before. 2013 remains however a great vintage, since Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia are crowned World Rally Champions for the first time. The fifth and last Alsatian edition consecrates the Volkswagen’s Finnish duo composed of Jari-Matti Latvala and Miika Anttila.

The year 2015 sets a new era for the Rallye de France, which will settle again in its original territory. The Tour de Corse is back! The Finnish Jari-Matti Latvala becomes one of the rare Scandinavians to ever win on the Beauty Island. A year after, in 2016, Sébastien Ogier seizes his first Corsican success, getting him closer to his fourth consecutive world title.

The Roll of Honour since 1973

Highlights 2018


Follow us on Twitter