Sébastien Ogier’s world championship-clinching victory in Spain last weekend marked tyre company Michelin’s 300th FIA World Rally Championship win.
The French firm has competed in the series for all but five seasons since it was introduced in 1973. Last week it extended its participation in the WRC for a further three seasons until the end of 2019.
Michelin’s run began at the opening round of the 1973 series, Rallye Monte-Carlo, when Jean-Claude Andruet won in an Alpine-Renault A110. Six wins that year earned the company its maiden world title.
It dominated the flame-spitting Group B era, winning the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles for three consecutive seasons between 1984 and 1986. It was equally successful in the Group A period that followed, inventing the ATS run-flat puncture resistant mousse to help Toyota claim its first WRC crown.
Michelin left the championship after the 2005 campaign. It returned in 2011 and has not been beaten since.
Fifty-five drivers have won WRC rounds for the company, Sébastien Loeb leading the way with 36 wins. It has won 24 drivers’ titles, Tommi Mäkinen, Loeb and Ogier topping the list with four wins each.
It has also won 25 manufacturers’ championships and with a 26th crown a certainty this year, Michelin will achieve a half century of world titles.