The most important driver to beat is the one in the same car as you - and while the following people may well have been in the same team, as Wrc.com discovers they certainly weren’t always the best of friends...
Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz
Like Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in Formula One, this was probably the fastest and most famous line-up that world rallying has ever seen. But it came at a price: there were often fireworks at Subaru when McRae and Sainz were team-mates from 1994 to 1995 - not helped by team orders. The most notorious incident was when Prodrive management stood in the road in front of McRae to attempt to slow him down towards the end of the 1995 Catalunya Rally. The people he drove at escaped with their kneecaps, but didn’t escape without a blazing row at the service park afterwards. McRae went on to win the title at the next round in Britain. Sainz left for Ford.
Francois Delecour and Gilles Panizzi
Two Frenchmen at Peugeot was always going to be a volatile situation, but matters came to a head on the 2000 Rallye Sanremo, when the two asphalt aces were locked in a battle for the lead - with Panizzi just having the edge. The problem was that Delecour believed his rival had an unfair advantage, accusing him publicly of illegal reconnaissance. Panizzi retaliated by spitting in his general direction at the service park. Cue tears, recriminations, and Delecour threatening to stop the rally there and then. Peugeot boss Corrado Provera’s diplomacy skills were tested to the utmost, but he eventually persuaded his two superstars back into their cars, with Panizzi winning the event and Delecour finishing second.
Marcus Gronholm and Richard Burns
Burns joined Peugeot - Gronholm’s team since 1999 - as world champion in 2002, a fact that was always going to sit uncomfortably with the lanky Finn: the undisputed team leader up until that point. Their approaches were also entirely different: Burns was a model of intense perfectionism, in complete contrast to Gronholm’s laid-back Finnish insouciance. It didn’t take long for them to start sniping at each other as they battled intensely for the title. But Gronholm would go on to become a patron of the Richard Burns Foundation, following the Englishman’s death from a brain tumour in 2005. “I feel very bad now about some of the things that were said when we were team-mates,” said Gronholm. “That’s why I’m very pleased to support Richard’s charity.”
Bjorn Waldegard and Sandro Munari
With Munari being an Italian driver in an Italian team, it was always clear who was going to find favour - particularly on Rallye Sanremo. Waldegard started the final stage of the 1976 Sanremo ahead of his Lancia team-mate, but that wasn’t in the script according to team boss Cesare Fiorio. Fiorio made sure that Waldegard was held up at the start of the stage - but the management’s plan backfired horribly. Waldegard was so incensed that he blitzed the stage and won the rally. Later that year, he departed to Ford in a temper.
Markku Alen and Miki Biasion
The situation was not dissimilar to the above, although the excitable and arm-waving Alen was arguably more of an Italian than the quiet and discreet Biasion. Nonetheless, Biasion had the Italian passport so he was the one favoured for the title. This meant that his team-mates were sometimes forced to play supporting roles at short notice, such as the 1986 Rally Argentina, when Lancia’s helicopter landed on a stage to slow Alen down. “I’ve never seen Markku so angry,” recounted co-driver Ilkka Kivimaki. “I practically had to stop him from driving through the helicopter.” The team prevailed though and Lancia finished first and second, sealing Biasion’s first WRC victory.