Drivers at all times have a comfortable spot for machines that ship a maiden world title and that’s precisely why World Rally Championship legend Juha Kankkunen lists the Peugeot 205 T16 as his favorite automobile.
Kankkunen’s choose, which carried him to the primary of 4 world titles in 1986, is arguably one of many WRC’s most revered automobiles. The Peugeot 205 T16 embodied the head of the notorious, harmful and downright bonkers Group B period that spanned 1983 to 1986.
Peugeot, then led by Jean Todt, debuted the 205 T16 halfway via the 1984 season and made a powerful impression by successful three of the 12 months’s remaining 4 rallies. It started life producing 350 horsepower however by the point Kankkunen arrived on the scene in 1986 – having impressed Peugeot administration with breakthrough wins in Kenya and the Ivory Coast for Toyota in 1985 – the fire-breathing E2 model was launched. Large wings and noticeable entrance aero gadgets enhanced a chassis whose 1.8-litre turbo-charge engine now delivered 500 horsepower.
The automobile received back-to-back producers titles in 1985-86, successful 13 of the 25 rallies throughout these two seasons between Ari Vatanen, Timo Salonen, Bruno Saby and Kankkunen.
“This was my first title and also you at all times keep in mind the primary one. These vehicles have been made for critical drivers,” Kankkunen tells Autosport. “It was good to drive however on the time there was loads of hazard, it was bodily very laborious and also you had to consider driving so much since you might destroy the tyres in 5 kilometres should you went flat out.
“Again then you definitely had 30km and 50km phases. There was far more tactical driving than these days.”
Photograph by: Motorsport Images
Kankkunen loved the problem of driving the fearsome, unsophisticated Group B machine
Kankkunen would get pleasure from a solitary season behind the wheel when he was drafted into the staff in 1986 as a alternative for Vatanen – injured in a Rally Argentina crash that successfully handed the 1985 crown to Salonen. It was a season of success for the Finn in extraordinarily tough circumstances following the tragic deaths of Lancia celebrity Henri Toivonen and co-driver Sergio Cresto in Corsica that triggered a name to finish Group B guidelines on the finish of the 12 months.
Kankkunen tamed the 205 T16 on his solution to wins in Sweden, Greece (Acropolis) and New Zealand, though his maiden world title wasn’t with out controversy after the Peugeots have been disqualified from the Sanremo Rally. A dispute initially arose from a timekeeping error that, when corrected, put the Peugeots additional forward of the Italian Lancia squad. Its boss Cesare Fiorio then recommended to stewards that the 205s have been operating unauthorised aerodynamic underbody sills.
Lancia’s Alen received the ultimate spherical – the Olympus Rally within the USA – and briefly was declared champion, just for governing physique FISA (now FIA) to annul the Sanremo outcomes 11 days later, handing Kankkunen the final world title of the Group B period.
“I’m very pleased with what I achieved throughout my profession. I wouldn’t like to alter even a day” Juha Kankkunen
After becoming a member of Lancia, Kankkunen efficiently defended his world crown as Group A dawned for 1987 earlier than claiming two extra titles in 1991 and 1993 with Lancia and Toyota respectively. The Finn retired from full-time competitors on the finish of 2002, three years after claiming the final of his 23 WRC rally wins for Subaru on the 1999 Rally Finland, and stays an everyday attendee of WRC occasions working as a Toyota ambassador.
“I’m very pleased with what I achieved throughout my profession. I wouldn’t like to alter even a day,” provides Kankkunen, who additionally drove for Ford and Hyundai in his prolonged profession. “I imply, there have been unhealthy days, however they belong to rally and that’s how it’s. I managed to drive for the most effective groups and drive the most effective vehicles. I had an excellent profession.”
As for the outlawed 205 T16, it was tailored to tackle the rigours of the Paris-Dakar Rally and did so with nice success. A recovered Vatanen and Kankkunen led Peugeot to back-to-back successes in 1987 and 1988 respectively, whereas it received 4 straight European Rallycross Division 2 titles courtesy of Seppo Niittymaki and Matti Alamaki between 1987 and 1990.
Photograph by: Motorsport Images
Kankkunen remembers his first world title fondly regardless of the controversy and tragedy that dogged 1986