rallying with Simca 1000
1984: His WRC debut in Corsica with Renault
1986: Drives Austin Metro MG 6R4, French Champion
1987: 4th in Italy with Ford Sierra, French Champion1988: 1st WRC win in Corsica with Ford, 3rd in Finland, French Champion
1989: Move to Lancia, Win in Corsica, 4th WRC for Drivers1990: Winner of three WRC events with Lancia, 2nd WRC for Drivers
1991: Win in Italy with Lancia, 3rd WRC for Drivers
1992: Winner of six WRC events with Lancia, 3rd WRC for Drivers
1993: Move to Toyota, Win in Monte Carlo, 3rd WRC for Drivers
1994: Winner of three WRC events with Toyota, World Champion
1995: Win in Corsica, Toyota excluded from WRC1996: Drives with Subaru and Mitsubishi
1997: Mid-season return to WRC with Toyota, 3rd in Australia
1998: Win in Spain with Toyota, 5th WRC for Drivers
1999: Keep on driving with Toyota, Win in China, 3rd WRC for Drivers
2000: Move to SEAT, 3rd in Kenya
2001: Contract with Peugeot, Win in Spain, 7th WRC for Drivers
2002: Drives Toyota
2003: Contract with Skoda, 6th in Argentina
2005: Drives Peugeot
|Date of Birth:
18/8/1958 at Montpellier
World Drivers' Champion:
A taste for speed, gained while an ambulance driver, led to an interest in rallying in 1979. Early outings in a Simca 1000 helped ensure works assistance in Renault 5 Turbos. Victory eluded him, however, until a switch to an MG Metro in 1986, when he became French Champion.
Another switch to Ford for 1987 enabled him to dominate his national series for a second and third times, but he was eager to move up the ladder and eventually scored his first World Championship win in the 1988 Tour of Corsica. A sensational drive to third on his first ever visit to the usually Scandinavian-dominated Rally Finland earned him a Lancia contract.
By 1992 he had progressed from junior partner to team-leader, winning the Monte Carlo twice, dominating the Corsican event and winning events as diverse as Australia and Finland. Unlucky not to win the World Championship in 1992, he moved to Toyota for 1993.
He quickly got to grips with the Celica, and duelled with Carlos Sainz's Subaru for the 1994 Drivers' Championship, eventually siezing the title on the last round. The Toyota team's disqualification in 1995 meant that Auriol spent time resting and helping develop a new car to the new WRC rules over the next two seasons.
He has achieved his greatest successes with the Toyota Team, becoming World Champion in 1994 and achieving seven of his 18 World Championship wins with Toyotas. The team returned with Auriol for several rallies in 1997, and a fine third on the Rally Australia demonstrated that the Frenchman would be back, and hungry for more success in the future. 1st place in Spain 1998 showed that he is still capable to win. In 1999 he drove very well the whole season and placed third in the Driverīs Championship.
When Toyota withdrew from the World Rally Championship at the end of the 1999 season, he signed a two-year agreement with SEAT. The season was very frustrating. Auriol placed third in Kenya, but after that they never achieved top six position with SEAT. It was not a miracle that the Spanish team withdrew from the World Rally Championship at the end of the 2000 season.
For the season 2001 Auriol made a contract with Peugeot. France's most succesful rally driver of all time and only World Champion was finally driving in the French team. He won in Catalunya, but Peugeot dropped him at the end of the 2001 season and he was without the works drive. It seemed that his career was over.
He competed with the Toyota on selected rallies during the season 2002 and for the season 2003 Auriol made a works contract with Skoda to contest all 14 rounds. He was once more partnered by long-time co-driver Denis Giraudet. During the whole season the best result was in Argentinaīs sixth place and after the season Skoda announced that they do not need anymore Auriolīs services. It was time to retire for Didier, but he has frequently insisted that hes not yet ready to retire.
In Rallye Monte Carlo 2005 Auriol is returning to the world stage after sealing a deal to drive a Bozian Racing Peugeot 206 WRC. The 46-year old, triple Monte Carlo winner, wants to drive in more rounds over the course of the season and is extremely motivated about his Monte Carlo outing.
Didier Auriol will be always remembered. He is the only driver with Sebastien Loeb to win six World Championship rallies in one season, he is France's most succesful rally driver of all time and the first French World Rally Champion.