The 1998 Rally Catalunya was an event Dani Sordo won’t forget in a while. A 15-year-old Sordo was riveted to the local news to try and find out more about Jesus Puras, the man from around the corner who was taking on - and beating - the best in the World Rally Championship.
That Rally Catalunya was the first time Puras scored a fastest time at WRC level; he was driving the Citroen Xsara kit car. Three years later, on the Tour de Corse, there were more celebrations in the Sordo household when Puras won his one and only WRC round.
“For me,” says Sordo, “the hero has to be Jesus Puras. He came from the same area as me, so it was easy for me to know about him and find out what he was doing. Maybe, when I was younger, I also had Luis Climent as a hero. He [Climent] was a really spectacular style of driver - and, of course, Carlos [Sainz] was also a hero. But the big one for me was Puras, he was the one I would always look out for.”
“Puras was a five or six-time Spanish Championship, so he was really successful and I watched him many times on Rally Catalunya. I remember watching him when he was driving the Citroen Xsara kit car, and fighting against the World Rally Cars. It was amazing to watch him, but I never really got to know him. He had gone from the [Citroen] team before I arrive, but I have spoken with him a little bit.”
Beyond his own backyard, Sordo’s other hero was Colin McRae. And he didn’t just meet him, he shared a team with the one they called Super-Mac.
“When he came to the Rally of Turkey and we competed as a team-mates in 2006 in the Kronos Team, then Colin became more of a hero,” says Sordo. “And I became much more confident with him. We talked a lot, he was a great person - he had a very good personality.”