Monday | 10 Aug 2020

One-hit wonder: Jorge Recalde

Thirty-one drivers form the group of WRC’s one-hit wonders – those drivers who proudly sprayed the champagne from the top step of an FIA World Rally Championship round once in their career. We tell the story of six of the best in a weeklong series, starting today with Argentina’s Jorge Recalde.

Lancia driver Miki Biasion was at the height of his power as he moved towards his maiden FIA World Rally Championship title in 1988. Only one man beat the Italian to the finish of a rally through the course of that campaign.

That man was Jorge Recalde. Born in Mina Clavero, a town at the heart of Rally Argentina’s route, Recalde was 20 when he won his first rally. And 37 years old when he took the biggest scalp of them all for his one and only WRC win.

When the WRC arrived in Argentina, Recalde was straight on the case and guided a Datsun 160J to the podium and third place in 1981.

An association with Lancia meant a Delta S4 for the 1986 rally and when he brought that home fourth, he truly found favour with the Italian marque.

Video: One-hit wonder - Jorge Recalde

Second in 1987 gave an insight into how much speed and experience Recalde had on his home roads, but his victory over Biasion 12 months later was a drive of pure class.

Biasion suffered early transmission issues aboard his Delta Integrale and was further slowed by a blown fuse, which Miki was forced to stop and find before he could continue. But even when the pair were running clean, Recalde looked to have the measure of his illustrious title-charging team-mate.

Smacking a rock which had been placed in the middle of the road gave the local hero a puncture and twisted the suspension aboard the Martini-liveried car. Biasion passed him, but dropped back to second when his electrical issue occurred.

Recalde was relaxed about the result. Expecting to be told to slow down and allow his fellow Lancia driver to take another win, Jorge counted down the stages. And won.

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Much is made of local heroes on local roads, but Recalde’s sole victory was crafted out of speed which was more than a match for Biasion on that August week in 1988.

Recalde remained in the sport until his untimely death when he suffered a heart attack while competing on an event in 2001, aged 49.

Such was his impact on the sport in Argentina, the national government declared Mina Clavero as the national capital of rallying and March 10, the day he died, Día Nacional del Rally Argentino. The National day of Rally Argentina.