A total of 80 different rally drivers have won a round of the World Rally Championship from 17 different nationalities. France is the most successful nation with 199 total wins, followed by Finland on 181. This means that between them, France and Finland have won 62.09% of all WRC rallies. Rather remarkably, drivers called Sebastien have won 132 of those 612 rallies. That’s 21.56% of ALL rallies have been won by a driver with the same forename.
The numbers for co-drivers is slightly different, Finland coming out on top with 139 wins and France close behind with 118. A total of 21 different nationalities have won rallies in the co-driver seat. The United States, New Zealand, Ivory Coast and South Africa being the extra additions.
Twenty-two different manufacturers have won at least once in the WRC. So far only Citroen have broken the 100 wins barrier – 102 wins with five different models. From the WRC’s current crop of manufacturers, it’s Ford who lead the way with 91 wins. Toyota have 67 and Hyundai have won 19 times. The most successful car in the history of the WRC is the Volkswagen Polo R WRC. It won 43 rallies between 2012 and 2017. Three of the top five most successful cars are from Citroen – the C4 WRC (36), the Xsara WRC (32) and the DS3 WRC (26). The Peugeot 206 WRC rounds out the top five with 24 total wins.
French drivers called Sebastien have won 16 of the last 17 WRC titles. That’s a crazy 94.11%. Only Ott Tanak from Estonia has broken the run since 2004, he won the championship in 2019. Only 9 different nationalities have won the WRC title. France has the most for obvious reasons (16), followed by the Finns with 13. Countries with only one champion include Spain (Carlos Sainz x2), Estonia (Ott Tanak), Italy (Miki Biasion x2) and Norway (Petter Solberg).
The record for the youngest ever winner of a WRC round was broken in 2021 by Kalle Rovanpera when he won Rally Estonia at the age of 20 years, 9 months and 17 days. Previously the record had been held by Jari-Matti Latvala since 2008.
On the other hand the oldest winner of a WRC round has remained Bjorn Waldegard since 1990. Waldegard won that year’s Safari Rally at the age of 46 years, 5 months and 4 days. This still pales in comparison to the oldest co-driver to have won a WRC rally. This record belongs to John Kennard of New Zealand, who won the 2016 Rally Argentina at the age of 57 years, 2 months and 13 days. Kennard was a full 28 years older than his driver, Hayden Paddon.