The Year of the Records

The Year of the RecordsFrom Chris Biewer [ 02/02/2019 ].
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Monte Carlo was Citroen's 100th WRC victory - in their 100th anniversary year at that. Citroen is the first manufacturer to break the 100 victories barrier and it seems Citroen will keep that record for their own for a pretty long time. The next manufacturers are Ford with 91 wins - who with the current situation at M-Sport, no offence please, are unlikely to win 9 more rallies too soon. Followed by Lancia at 73 wins - who will definitely not add to this tally as they sorts of don't exist any more. And the 4th most successful manufacturer is Toyota, who are very, very strong indeed at the moment, but with exactly 50 wins to their name only have half of what Citroen has got. But there are far more records to tumble, many of them contain the magic #100:

Still in Monte Carlo: Not only was it Citroen's 100th WRC win, the first manufacturer to do so, but Thierry Neuville's 2nd place means he cracked the 1000 career points mark with exactly 1014 points now.

Sébastien Ogier will soon be the first driver to break the 2000 mark, sitting at exactly 1997 career points after Monte Carlo. Ogier is followed by Loeb 1680, Latvala 1586, Sainz 1220, Hirvonen 1213, Kankkunen 1124 and Sordo 1028. Thierry Neuville thus is the 8th most successful driver in points and only 8 drivers have 4-digit points. However, if you wonder that Sébastien Loeb has less points than Sébastien Ogier, Loeb is proof that this statistic has a problem to identify the best drivers. Most of Loeb's successes were in the days of the very silly points system 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1, only max 10points with a non-existant reward between winner and second - which is for example why Richard Burns did not go for wins in his Peugeot days. Same goes even more for other drivers, as in example Marcus Grönholm. Many years Grönholm was Loeb's biggest rival, yet Grönholm only sits at 616 points that just don't give him judgement.

Interestingly this makes the maths very easy in one aspect: Loeb won 79% of Citroen's 100 WRC events. And Citroen win #99 was Séb Loeb, but Citroen win #100 was Séb Ogier. Yet Loeb's success story was so huge, many would probably believe that Citroen's first WRC win was Loeb? It wasn't! Can you guess who was the first winning driver in a Citroen? And better yet, who was the first winning driver in a Citroen WRC car? Hint: Latter driver won only this one event in his career! But we will make a separate story for Citroen's 100 wins.

Back to current records, but staying with the number 100:

Which drivers have 100 WRC starts? Well, there are 28 drivers with that record. But soon it will be over 30!

So back to Thierry Neuville, who now has over 1000 career points. Monte Carlo was his 98th WRC start. So if you are counting, Sweden will be Neuville's start #99 and in Mexico the champaign bottles will pop!

But Neuville will not be the only driver joining the 100 Club this year. In fact, there will be a lot of partying over at Toyota this year, as all three of their drivers are hunting for records:

Ott Tänak should celebrate his 100th WRC start in round8 Sardinia

Kris Meeke should follow him straight away with start #100 in round9 Finland

And the guy who tops it all in that respect is Jari-Matti Latvala. The excellent WRC+ All Live service announced during Monte Carlo, that Latvala matched Carlos Sainz for the most starts in the WRC. Both sit at 196 starts! By the way, 3rd in these charts is Petter Solberg at 189 starts and 4th Séb Loeb already down at 173 starts. Pardon the term but it is tempting: Two of Latvala's challengers are pensioners and Loeb is a part time pensioner. This means in Sweden Latvala will be the driver with the most WRC starts at 197. And doing our maths in round5 Argentina Latvala will be the first driver to celebrate 200 WRC starts, and he will have this as his own, private record for quite some time!