RIP Philippe Bugalski

RIP Philippe BugalskiFrom Chris Biewer [ 10/08/2012 ].
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We are receiving news that Philippe Bugalski has died today (Friday). This comes as a shock, as Philippe was an official Citroen WRC test driver up until including the C4 WRC. In recent years he still was active with an Audi Quattro in Hostoric Rallies in France. Bug - as fans called him - was also the last winner of the Rallye Deutschland, who wasn't called Séb.

Philippe Bugalski’s career started in a Volkswagen Golf in 1982, the same type of car in which he started his WRC career in Monte Carlo 1984. Soon he became a semi official Renault driver, trying several unusual cars, as the R21 Turbo, R19 16v and a special Clio Williams that was the first rally with sequential gear shift. Bug is most famous however as a Citroen driver.

In fact he was involved with getting Citroen’s current, record breaking WRC program on track. Bug won two WRC events, Catalunya & Tour de Corse 1999 in a Citroen Xsara F2 Kit Car, the only outright wins at this level of F2 Kit Cars. Thereafter he became French Champion 2000 with a car called the Xsara T4, which was essentially a re-badged Xsara WRC in a massive testing program.

When Citroen debuted their first WRCar in a WRC program in 2001, Philippe Bugalski was the lead driver of a 3-car team including Jesus Puras, Thomas Raadström and a sole start (San Remo) for Séb Loeb. Bug stayed in the team as an official driver until 2003, when he started the WRC asphalt rounds alongside Séb Loeb, Carlos Sainz & Colin McRae!

Apparently he died of the injuries he suffered when he fell of a tree (not using a car). This sounds so unbelievable, that I rather wait for confirmation. But what a sad way to lose such a star and genuinly nice character.

Good bye Philippe, and our sympathies to his family and friends.