Juha Kankkunen

JK

Personal information
Nationality Finland Finnish
Born 2 April 1959
World Rally Championship record
Active years 1979, 1982~2002, 2010
Teams Toyota, Peugeot, Lancia, Ford, Subaru, Hyundai, Ford
Rallies 162
Championships 4 (1986, 1987, 1991, 1993)
Rally wins 23
Podiums 75
Stage wins 700
Total points 1140
First rally 1979 1000 Lakes Rally
First win 1985 Safari Rally
Last win 1999 Rally Finland
Last rally 2010 Rally Finland

INTRODUCTION

Juha Matti Pellervo Kankkunen (born 2 April 1959 in Laukaa) is a Finnish former rally driver. His factory team career in the World Rally Championship lasted from 1983 to 2002. In 1986, he gained prominence when he was signed by Peugeot and ended up winning the driver’s championship that same year. He won a total of 23 world rallies and four drivers’ world championship titles, which were both once records in the series. Sébastien Loeb has since collected more world titles, but no driver has so far been able to repeat Kankkunen’s feat of becoming a world champion with three different manufacturers. Later in his career and after the introduction of the WRC class in 1997, he is coined for saying the phrase: “WRC is for boys, Group B was for men.”

GROUP B RESULTS

(# = finish position / R = retired or DNF / = did not compete)

Y TEAM EVENT PTS
Monaco
MC
Sweden
SE
Portugal
PT
Kenya
KE
France
FR
Greece
GR
New Zealand
NZ
Brazil
BR
Finland
FI
Italy
IT
Ivory Coast
CI
United Kingdom
GB
82 Opel R R 0
Y Team Event pts
Monaco
MC
Sweden
SE
Portugal
PT
Kenya
KE
France
FR
Greece
GR
New Zealand
NZ
Argentina
AR
Finland
FI
Italy
IT
Ivory Coast
CI
United Kingdom
GB
83 Toyota 6 R 7 10
84 Toyota R R 5 R 8
85 Toyota 1 R R 1 5 48
86 Peugeot 5 1 R 5 1 1 R 2 R 3 United States
US2
86 pts 118

BIO (~1986)

Career

Kankkunen grew up on his family’s farm in Laukaa in Central Finland, near the route of the Rally Finland. His father had rallying and ice racing as a hobby, and taught Juha how to drive on an ice racing track. Kankkunen began to drive when he was seven years old, and owned his first car at the age of 12. He debuted in rallying in 1978 and competed in his first World Rally Championship event at the 1979 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland, finishing 14th in a Ford Escort RS2000. Kankkunen was coached by Timo Mäkinen, a friend of his father’s, and was able to compete often and gain experience with financial help from Timo Jouhki, future manager for many Finnish rally drivers such as Tommi Mäkinen and Mikko Hirvonen.

1983-85: Toyota

Due to good results for Toyota Finland in local events, Kankkunen was signed by the Toyota Team Europe, Toyota’s factory WRC team headed by Ove Andersson. In his first season in the Toyota Celica Twincam Turbo, as teammate to the 1979 world champion Björn Waldegård, his three outings in the championship resulted in a sixth place at the 1000 Lakes, a seventh place at the RAC Rally in Great Britain and a retirement at the Rallye Côte d’Ivoire. The following year, Kankkunen competed in four WRC events with Fred Gallagher as his new regular co-driver, retiring in three and finishing fifth in his home event. In 1985, he started his season with a surprise victory at the Safari Rally, becoming the first driver to win the event on the first attempt. He went on to compete in four more rallies and take his second win at WRC’s second endurance event, the Rallye Côte d’Ivoire, where he finished with the same amount of penalty minutes (4 hours and 46 minutes) as his teammate Waldegård but took the win by a tiebreaker.

1986: Peugeot

Kankkunen’s performances with the Celica earned him his chance to come to the fore with the defending manufacturers’ and drivers’ champions Peugeot. The team signed him for the 1986 season to replace Ari Vatanen who was still recovering from his nearly fatal accident during the previous season. Kankkunen duly seized his opportunity, taking the second evolution of the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 E2 to victory in the Swedish Rally, the Acropolis Rally and the Rally New Zealand and finishing on the podium in three more events. The season ended in controversy, when first Group B cars were banned for the next season after Henri Toivonen’s fatal accident at the Tour de Corse, which outraged Peugeot team principal Jean Todt, and later the French Peugeot team were excluded at the Rallye Sanremo in Italy, resulting in a triple win for home country’s Lancia. Despite the 205 T16s passing the pre-rally scrutiny, the stewards had decreed on re-examination that the cars’ underbody fins were in fact illegal side skirts. Going into the season-ending Olympus Rally in the United States, Lancia’s Markku Alén led Kankkunen by one point. Although Alén beat Kankkunen to the win, he was the world champion only for eleven days, until Peugeot’s appeal went through. The FIA deemed the team’s Sanremo exclusion illegal and annulled the results of the event, making Kankkunen the youngest champion in the history of the series.

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juha_Kankkunen


spell checked, translated, and modified (additions or abridged), by Jay Auger – website owner & author


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