|Date of Birth:||16.06.1964|
The only man other than Sébastien Loeb to have won four consecutive world drivers’ titles, Tommi Mäkinen and his Mitsubishi Lancer were almost untouchable in the WRC between 1996 and 1999.
Mäkinen was born near Jyväskylä, the home of Finland’s WRC rally, and it was here in 1987 that he made his WRC debut in a Lancia Delta HF 4WD. He didn’t finish but won the Finnish Group N championship the following year.
A comparatively late developer, Mäkinen spent another six years learning his craft in a variety of cars before his first WRC win in 1994, fittingly in Finland with a Ford Escort RS Cosworth.
In 1995 he was signed by Mitsubishi and began an extremely successful association which lasted until 2001. His first win for the Japanese company came in 1996 at Rally Sweden in a Lancer Evo 3. From that point on he dominated the sport for four years, winning 18 rallies and back to back titles in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Results tailed off from that point. He picked up four wins in the next couple of seasons, but increasingly faced tough competition from the likes of Marcus Grönholm and Richard Burns.
He switched to Subaru in 2002 and took his last win at Rallye Monte-Carlo, his first event with the squad. A handful of podiums followed that year and the next, before Mäkinen bowed out of full-time competition with a podium at Rally GB in 2003 to concentrate on his rally car preparation business in Finland.