WRC ORLEN 80th Rally Poland
Starts: Thursday, June 27, 2024 at 8:00:00 AM
ERC Delfi Rally Estonia
Starts: Friday, July 5, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM
Ferratum World RX of Sweden 1
Starts: Saturday, July 6, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM

Wed 06 Mar 2024

The WRC record that's unlikely to be broken any time soon

The six years, six months and 19 days which separated Esapekka Lappi’s FIA World Rally Championship victories were something of a talking point at Rally Sweden last month. There’s a similar story waiting when the WRC lands into Africa for this year’s third round.

Prior to the popular Finn’s second career win, the longest a driver had gone from a first to a second win was five years, 11 months and 24 days. That was Shekhar Mehta in the Seventies. The Ugandan-born Kenyan driver won the Safari in 1973, but had to wait until the same event in 1979 before he was back on the podium’s top step.

Mehta’s 1979 victory was the start of four straight wins on the WRC’s most arduous of events. He remains the joint most successful driver on the Safari, sharing a record five wins with Carl Tundo.

Mehta, like Lappi this season, was known for running part programmes in the world championship, but he was undoubtedly one of the fastest and most talented drivers across the season’s rough terrain. Much of Shekhar’s career was spent with Datsun/Nissan, but there were occasional forays into Group B supercars – notably when he drove an Audi Quattro in Argentina in 1983 and a Peugeot 205 T16 on his penultimate Safari start in 1986.

Image: McKlein